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Watchdog gets new master. (Arrivals).

ON JAN. 1, Canadian-born Linda Crompton became president and CEO of The Investor Responsibility Research Center, or IRRC, an investor research group specializing in corporate social responsibility in Washington, D.C. She replaces 23-year veteran Scott Fenn, who announced plans to retire earlier this year.

Crompton most recently founded Citizens Bank of Canada, known for its pioneering efforts to foster community involvement in bank operations.

In her new role, Crompton brings significant pressure to bear on public companies. With more than 500 subscribers, the IRRC empowers institutional investors by screening equities with poor records of citizenship.

Crompton sees the IRRC's work as an alternative to regulation. Having spent 25 years in the highly regulated banking industry, she views regulation as an "onerous" financial burden. "It's not my first choice," she elaborates. "I think there are other ways of doing things."

Crompton advocates "social audits" to measure the societal cost or benefit of business activities. "When you go through an MBA [program], you're taught equations that don't take into account things like environmental or social impact," she explains. "[We need to] change what we measure so we start to internalize those costs instead of externalizing them.

"Large corporations are under enormous pressure to just get the next quarter's results," she says. "but I think most of them will respond [positively] when they're made aware of a problem."
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Author:Sherwood, Sonja
Publication:Chief Executive (U.S.)
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2002
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