Nancy Harrington Jones is the first person at Societe Generale to be named Chief Culture & Conduct Officer. The New York Federal Reserve Bank has convened conference events over the last several years, bringing together bank executives and regulators from across the globe, to discuss needed efforts to reform culture and behavioral tendencies in the banking sector. After participating in those discussions, SocGen decided to create this new non-financial risk management function. Harrington Jones describes her role as leading cultural change in the bank’s approach to governance, risk and compliance, with a shift away from the industry’s typical focus on processes and systems to place more emphasis on people and the dynamics among them.

Two key areas of focus for SocGen are:

“Do we have our environment set up to exhibit the best behaviors?”

“Do employees feel comfortable speaking up without fear or penalty when questionable behavior is observed?”

In this context, Harrington Jones says that she attends most closely to indicators of trust among employees. She is absolutely right to do so. In our own work with global banks seeking to optimize their Three Lines of Defense, this trust element has been demonstrably critical. Peering into those trust dynamics through AI and data analytics tools affords them a real-time gauge by which to judge their success in these optimization efforts. And such tools enable on-the-go course correction when needed.

For Harrington Jones, the biggest indicator of success is, “Finding out about events, situations, or decisions before they blow up, regulators discover them, or the auditors come to us.”

Her awareness of the importance of trust as a key driver of such happy outcomes marks Harrington Jones as particularly insightful — such an awareness is not always found among her peers at other firms. They may benefit by keeping an eye on her.To get more insight on this topic, you can click here to read about Stephen Scott’s presentation at the NY Fed conference.

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