LRN Perspectives

Partnerships of Trust: Katie Lawler Banks on Ethics to Create Wins for the Business

September 3, 2019 LRN Corporation

“If companies can get the culture right, it’s such a tremendous competitive advantage.”

 – Joe Kale

This episode of the Principled podcast is hosted by Ben DiPietro, editor of LRN’s E&C Pulse newsletter, who is interviewing Katie Lawler, global chief ethics officer at U.S. Bank. Most companies will have ethics and compliance as a combined function, but U.S. Bank has a large risk management and compliance department, while ethics sat under human resources.

U.S. Bank saw an opportunity to elevate ethics to a standalone function to build on the company’s strength. Lawler discusses how she transitioned into the newly created role of ethics chief, how she clearly defined business unit roles, and how she gives partners latitude and freedom to do their best work.


  • [0:54] What was the career path that let to her current role at U.S. Bank?
  • [2:30] Was she happy to be the first chief ethics officer, or did she wish there already was a structure in place?
  • [6:00] How did her background in human resources help she transitioned into her new role?
  • [7:09] One of her first tasks was to work with her former HR colleagues; did that change her relationship with them? What were some of the issues she had to deal with?
  • [9:13] What are some ways ethics and compliance people can foster closer relationships with other business units?
  • [11:55] Has her successful partnerships resulted in other business units taking notice, and has it changed her relationship with them?
  • [13:18] How can ethics and compliance better articulate to boardrooms that companies that behave better perform better?

    Don’t miss our next episode! Be sure to subscribe to Principled on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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