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Making Coke a Better Place to Work
I welcome scrutiny of Coca-Cola Co.'s policies and practices in every respect, including as a responsible corporate citizen and employer ("Coke: Say good-bye to the good ol' boy culture," News: Analysis & Commentary, May 29). We already have designed and launched several new initiatives--and there is more to come.
I suggest that your story did not fairly portray the historic record of this company. I believe we need to be better than we have been. I also believe we have been better than a reader of your piece might have concluded.
Your story challenges the company to "become a model for diversity in corporate America," to undergo a cultural overhaul, and to match its considerable financial incentives with real organizational changes--in essence, to create a Texaco-type turnaround.
But Coca-Cola is not Texaco. And contrary to writer Dean Foust's suggestions, which include adopting Texaco's independent oversight panel concept to review all of Coke's employment decisions, the most important ingredient for the successful turnaround of a company's culture is not another management review committee but the committed leadership of the CEO.
Based upon my involvement with top management at Coca-Cola, I am convinced that, like Texaco's managers, they are committed to changing the culture of the company in a manner that will make it a model of a diversity-sensitive company.
As a Washington attorney specializing in corporate diversity counseling, I assisted Texaco's Peter Bijur and have since assisted several other CEOs faced with class-action race discrimination cases in addressing their diversity problems. The most successful were those that made a "real" commitment to develop and implement comprehensive programs. For any such diversity program to be successful, management must be held accountable for the program's overall results.
Coca-Cola will become a model for diversity in America because CEO Douglas Daft and his management team have made it very clear that "the buck stops here."
Weldon H. Latham
WashingtonReturn to top
The CPAs Support a Strong Oversight Board
"Why the auditors need auditing" (Editorials, May 22) contends that the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is trying to hide something by cutting off funding to the Public Oversight Board. The truth is that the profession has simply asked the POB to provide a plan that outlines what it intends to do and how much it is expected to cost. There has never been any question about our support for a strong, independent POB. Since its inception over 20 years ago, we have spent millions of dollars funding the POB and will continue to support this important group.
The editorial also states that a set of sensible rules and internal controls should be drawn up. This has already been done. Several months ago, the AICPA established mandatory quality-control requirements to beef up auditor compliance with independence rules. Firms that do not comply with these new rules will be disciplined. We have also called for a modernization of rules, which the Securities & Exchange Commission has acknowledged are antiquated and discriminatory.
Why not look at a more substantive issue--the fact that there seems to be no significant effort to modernize financial reporting regulations.
Barry C. Melancon
President and CEO
American Institute of Certified
New YorkReturn to top