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Raytheon CEO: In Ethics, Perception is Reality

Doing right is 'a competitive advantage' in global market, Thomas A. Kennedy says

Raytheon Chairman and CEO Thomas A. Kennedy addresses the annual conference of the International Forum on Business Ethical Conduct for the Aerospace and Defence Industry in Boston.

When it comes to doing business ethically, Raytheon Chairman and CEO Thomas A. Kennedy says he likes to follow a simple rule: If the situation is gray, walk away.

Kennedy shared that advice at a conference of international defense and aerospace leaders in Boston, saying that executives should encourage employees to pause and do an "ethics check" in order to build a corporate reputation for trustworthiness.

“Brand and perception go together," Kennedy told the audience. "I firmly believe (Raytheon's) ethical culture gives us a competitive advantage worldwide."

Kennedy, speaking at the International Forum on Business Ethical Conduct for the Defence and Aerospace Industry’s annual conference, said maintaining a sterling ethical reputation is especially important – not to mention good business – in a global market where customs and anti-corruption laws vary widely.

Raytheon’s international sales are at an all-time high, accounting for 32 percent of the company’s total sales last quarter, Kennedy said. The company does business in approximately 80 countries around the world and has received the prestigious Corporate Leadership Award from the global anti-corruption group Transparency International-USA.

Raytheon has published its anti-corruption policy in 15 languages, it has formed an anti-corruption team, and has created an award-winning ethics education program that allows employees to evaluate and resolve real-life ethical quandaries.

“We want problems to be surfaced, not submerged. When we know about a problem, we can work to solve it,” Kennedy said. “We work to reduce risk in our company by discussing the importance of raising your hand, and asking questions or reporting concerns if a course of action doesn’t feel right.”

Kennedy was among several Raytheon leaders slated to speak at the conference, a gathering of about 100 ethics and compliance professionals from the defense and aerospace industries, as well as government agencies and research centers around the world. The two-day event also featured John D. Harris II, the CEO of Raytheon International, Inc.; Timothy F. Schultz, vice president for ethics and business conduct; Brian Baldrate, senior counsel at Raytheon International, Inc.; and Ralph Gonzalez, senior corporate counsel at Raytheon International, Inc.

Raytheon is a founding member of the International Forum on Business Ethical Conduct. The organization, founded in 2010, encourages leaders to share ideas on how to remain ethical and competitive. It has developed a set of global principles that Raytheon and other companies have adopted.

Last Updated: 12/14/2015

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