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Bain & Company's Response to SARS

Bain & Company's Response to SARS

Actions taken

Actions taken

Actions Bain has taken to ensure that we do not repeat our past mistakes.

The firm accepts various lapses in leadership and governance during the period and has done everything possible to uncover the truth of the situation.

In addition to returning to SARS all the fees plus interest that we received for our engagement with them in November 2018, we have since taken comprehensive action to ensure that we do not repeat our past mistakes.

  • Changed the regional and local structure, roles and leadership. As an essential step in helping rebuild trust in Bain’s Africa operations, we appointed Mr John Senior, a highly experienced global leader in our Telecoms, Media & Technology practice, as Bain Africa Managing Partner from January 2019. Prior to this Mr Senior spent eight years in Bain’s New York and Sydney offices. In addition, as part of ensuring appropriate oversight, a new geographic cluster was created to improve the span of control over EMEA. A new Regional Managing Partner for EMEA, Mr Domenico Azzarello, is in place and the firm also created a new role for a managing partner for the Southern and Eastern EMEA region. Mr Dale Cottrell, the former Regional Managing Partner for Asia Pacific (and former Board and Global Operating Committee member) assumed this role.
     
  • Established a Global Public Sector Risk Function, including a full time Risk Officer, and a Bain Board Risk Sub-Committee. A disciplined risk process is now in place globally with every new public sector-related client development opportunity being screened and pressure tested in advance of proposals being submitted.

    Independent of line leadership and accountable to our Global Board, this function’s mandate is to:
     
    • Recommend risk policy for Bain globally and review overall firm risks regularly
       
    • Undertake regular risk reviews of each country we operate in, and for each public sector client opportunity prior to proposal submission
       
    • Accredit offices with a relatively higher exposure to public sector work, based on proven and demonstrated competence
       
    • Assure competence in teams undertaking public sector work through
       
      • designating a risk officer within each client team to engage in risk reviews with the Public Sector Risk Function, and
         
      • sustain an ongoing risk dialogue, certifying individual team members through online training, and maintaining a risk register pertinent to each client opportunity
         
    • Manage Bain’s public sector best operating practices
       
    • Oversee the set-up (completed in February 2020) and management of Bain’s whistleblowing function and hotline, which is administered by a third party and is available to all employees
       
  • Established a South Africa Oversight Board, which provides risk oversight of client and project selection, scrutinizes project outcomes for value, and offers advice to Bain’s partner team on corporate responsibility. The oversight board ensures there is sufficient scrutiny of Bain’s Africa Managing Partner, particularly in cases where the Managing Partner is also the client head. It meets on a monthly basis.
     
  • Implemented a culture change programme and created an integrity pledge. Bain has a very strong global culture and we fully recognize that this is an integral part of the value we offer our clients. We lost sight of some of these cultural traits in South Africa and it was this breakdown in culture that contributed – in part – to the situation we find ourselves in today.

    The Bain South Africa office has undergone a thorough review of all aspects of our business, including our operating model and culture. Our people in South Africa are fully committed to this journey. We have implemented a program to reinforce our core values, which include acting with integrity and always communicating honestly. 

In addition to the above, we are developing a comprehensive remedy plan. This includes setting aside funds to invest in South Africa, leadership training with  influential entities within South Africa though our Bain Academy initiative, and investing in initiatives that strengthen public institutions and promote social cohesion. The firm is committed to being a good corporate citizen and these investments are in support of this commitment.