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Michael Green, Head of Compliance @ Arm

Michael Green, Head of Compliance @ Arm

January 23, 2020

Tell us how you got into the compliance field and what do you love about the work?  As relates to how I got into the compliance field, I would say that it was the culmination of numerous professional roles, including a wide variety of settings. I have worked as an Army Lawyer (criminal law, administrative law, legal assistance), government attorney (trial counsel and ethics attorney), public accounting and traditional inhouse corporate compliance practice. What I found was that the diversity of experiences and settings was an attractive asset for employers at the earlier stages of my career and set the stage for working in an inhouse compliance perspective.

In terms of what I like about the work, I would say there are multiple facets including:

  • Diversity of issues to address and the range of attributes that must be brought to the table to solve them;
  • Requirement to work cross-functionally with all functions and business units;
  • Evolving role of technology and the fact that compliance lives in a company's systems and;
  • Requirement to ingrain yourself and the operations of your team into the employer's culture, products and overall business operations.

What do you feel are the most interesting developments in the compliance sector for the technology industry as a whole? For your specific business/industry?  The most interesting developments in the compliance sector as a whole from my perspective are the growth in relevance of companies examining third party risks, data localization and its link to international law and broader country specific national security objectives, and the fact that a speak-up culture is still one of the best tools to protect a company. Regarding Arm, I would say that what is above is equally valid. Arm's business, as are most, is heavily dependent on partnering with third parties, so having a firm grasp on third party capabilities in terms of protecting and securing data, operating as trusted agents, protecting IP and many other additional risks is critical to business success. Each year compliance resides farther and farther away from the headquarters of a company.

What are some of the most difficult parts of building compliance teams in an extremely complex regulatory environment?  Identification of team members with complementary but not necessarily textbook compliance attributes is challenging in this environment. Compliance due to its complexity is no longer the domain of those with CPA's or JD's. Though the aforementioned professions certainly serve as the foundation for many compliance teams, having team members with backgrounds such as engineering, big data, linguistics and other competencies are all valued in this complex environment. In addition, having team members that organically collaborate amongst themselves is critical as well, because in today's environment being able to connect seeming disparate data points and realize that the it may have value to someone else on the team or within the company is critical. Another important component of building compliance teams in this department is finding team members who thrive in a learning environment and as a leader, providing the resources to support learning on a continuous basis.

What advice would you give someone who's interested in a career in compliance?  Having an interest in business, program management, project management, law and working across various functions and disciplines are critical areas to have excitement about. Also, I would advise that compliance looks very different across industries, so the experience described by me where having the background of a generalist may not be as value additive in highly regulated fields such as healthcare or financial institutions. It is important to choose businesses and industries that you have interest in because the process of achieving programmatic gains in compliance program success does not necessarily happen overnight. Patience, persistence and perseverance are all necessary traits for success. Finally, I would add that fundamentally liking to work with many different people is a key trait for success, as embedding compliance into a company requires working successfully with people all throughout the organization.

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