Managing Ethics in Organisations
In 1988 I commenced work as the NSW Financial Controller for Hooker Corporation Ltd (Projects Division). This role required me, amongst other duties, to prepare monthly financial reports for senior management on the financial status of all NSW non-residential projects.
It was at the end of 1988 / beginning of 1989 that the story dubbed “The Fine Cotton Affair” broke. The MD of Hooker Corporation George Herscu (GH) was implicated in this race fixing event and eventually gaoled. At the same time a number of the large commercial and industrial projects started to show losses, and cash flow was slowing. One of the major reasons was the large commitments being made to try and win the bid for the then temporary Sydney Casino.
This report covers one small part of this scenario, namely the attempt by the directors to sell off some of the smaller projects in Sydney by showing they were profitable or at worse break-even.
The events covered are as follows:
1. The attempt to coerce me into falsifying the financial position of the projects
2. My raising the issue with management
3. The actions taken by the directors
4. My response to the unfolding events
Apart from GH, the names of others are not mentioned only because I can’t remember them all these years later. I will therefore refer to them by position. The roles directly involved were:
• NSW State Manager '' Projects Division (NSM)
• Financial Controller '' Corporate (CFC)
• Group General Manager '' Projects (GGM)
• Project Managers (PM)
The NSM approached me during early January 1989 whilst I was completing the December 1988 end of month reports and told me that the losses showing on two projects needed to be adjusted to show they were breaking even.
I contacted the CFC and rechecked all the figures for the two projects, and also verified that there were no variances that had not been...