Michael Oxley hadnt heard of the Ethics Resource Center in Arlington, Virginia, when its board asked him to become its chairman. The 65-year-old former congressman was thrilled to lend his name synonymous with good corporate behavior since the passage of the landmark Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and efforts to the cause when he joined last month.
Hopefully, we can avoid another financial and economic crisis, says Oxley, an attorney in the Washington office of Baker Hostetler. Oxley, who will work for free, is going to help the nonprofit develop best practices for companies, governmental agencies and universities to create strong internal ethics programs. As for SOX, he asserts that it has passed the test of time. Companies like Lehman Brothers Holdings may have been tempted to make their books look better with accounting gimmicks, he notes. That is more difficult to do in todays environment.