Don’t do business with corrupt companies – Discovery CEO

Discovery CEO Adrian Gore says companies have an ethical responsibility not to do business or trade with other businesses that have been found to be corrupt, but cautions against making pre-emptive deductions on whether a company is involved in corrupt practices before the allegations have been properly investigated.

Gore was responding to questions from the floor during a forum at the Gordon Institute of Business Science on 28 September.

“Businesses shouldn’t be doing business with companies that are corrupt, but I don’t think it should be a witch hunt. Business should be a force for good without exception. I do think that we have to make a stand when they're not,” he said.

Gore's comments come a week after Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) suspended professional services firm KPMG’s membership after it admitted that there were serious failings in unusual work it conducted for Gupta-linked companies and the South African Revenue Service.
 
Fellow corporate McKinsey has also been implicated in state capture allegations, after being linked to dodgy dealings with Eskom and the Gupta-owned Trillian.

Gore called for restraint by the private sector until internal investigations into the allegations at the companies had concluded.

“There must be due process and individual businesses have acted [by distancing themselves from KPMG and McKinsey]. But this mindset of ‘We’ll punish you until you come clean,’ is unfair.

“Once the results of the internal investigations are released, then we can decide. And if a company is found to be inherently corrupt, then you shouldn't deal with them,” he commented.

Gore believes the proliferation of corruption and collusion in the private sector is a reflection of larger ethical shortcomings of government and society.
“You don’t need to cut corners to build a great business,” he said.

He further encouraged business to adopt an ethical, “shared value” approach in its dealings with customers rather than viewing them purely as sources of profit. 

“If a company pursues ethical pathways I believe it's great for business. Most employees are motivated by purpose rather than [money], so intertwine your business model with your customers and find authentic purpose,” he remarked.

Meanwhile, Gore remained tight-lipped on Discovery's plans to launch a banking service offering in 2018, saying only that the domestic banking sector as whole had demonstrated resilience during challenging times.

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