CEO’s view: legality, morality and justice



Legality, morality and justice have been the main underlying themes in recent business news, both in Finland and around the world. The level and continuing rise of salaries and bonuses for top executives have been called into question, and widespread international tax avoidance schemes have been revealed. Within Finland there has been much discussion about how measures to stimulate and restructure the economy are affecting different segments of the population, actors and interest groups.

It is also often pointed out that the alleged aggressive tax planning by the wealthy erodes the foundation of the welfare state and further increases the tax burden on low income earners.  In fact, illegal tax avoidance is equally unfair towards all conscientious taxpayers. Furthermore, the greed of a small minority leads to tighter control and more regulation, which is an inconvenience to everyone and especially those who anyway do their utmost to fulfil their obligations.

It goes without saying that neither Algol nor its owners are involved in any unlawful or dubious tax schemes. Our entire ownership and corporate structure is extremely simple and transparent, and taxes are paid where earnings are generated. We are willing taxpayers – even if the Finnish tax system is not always entirely supportive of family enterprises like our own.

As regards other fraudulent activities, Algol maintains a policy of zero tolerance. We take our ethical guidelines seriously and deal firmly with all infringements. In the few rare incidents in which we have had cause to suspect that a person or persons may have acted contrary to guidelines, rules or laws, the company and group management have addressed the issue immediately. And we shall continue to do so, in every country in which we operate.

Is the world changing? Has the dishonest and unscrupulous pursuit of self-interest become the norm, are all means permitted so long as you avoid getting caught? I do not want to comment here on the dealings of specific companies or individuals or take a stand on economic policy issues. All I can say, in my own point of view and that of Algol, is that honesty, modesty, solidarity and hard work are still the cornerstones of sustainable success. Fortunately these values remain the rule and not the exception in our society.

Alexander Bargum