Features

Alison Hinds-Pearl – Revlon Consumer Products

Revlon legal leader helps make compliance a business practice

Compliance at Revlon is anything but cosmetic for Alison Hinds-Pearl. In fact, it’s her career.

As the company’s chief compliance officer and assistant general counsel since May 2021, Hinds-Pearl leads a team of four legal professionals who collaborate with HR throughout the company to manage compliance issues globally. This includes conducting internal investigations, advising on economic sanctions and employment laws as well as managing cybersecurity and data privacy risks.

Alison Hinds-Pearl | Chief Compliance Officer and Assistant General Counsel | Revlon Consumer Products

Alison Hinds-Pearl | Chief Compliance Officer and Assistant General Counsel | Revlon Consumer Products

However, Hinds-Pearl says she and her team can’t just focus on those laws and regulations alone—they develop practical processes and lead training emphasizing compliance as an essential business practice.

“Compliance is on the cutting edge of risk management,” Hinds-Pearl says. “We connect with employees at all levels to identify risks. We partner with the business on mitigation and update the audit committee of the board of directors, as appropriate.”

A history of empowerment

Revlon was founded in 1932 by brothers Charles and Joseph Revson and partner Charles Lachman. It introduced its lipstick and nail polishes during the decade and added hair color products in the mid-1960s. The company made strides when it hired Naomi Sims as its first Black model in 1970.

Revlon’s growth has also occurred through a series of acquisitions, and its portfolio of brands currently includes Almay, American Crew, CND, Elizabeth Arden and Mitchum. Its products are currently sold in more than 100 countries and online.

“We’re an innovative beauty company that helps people feel confident in how they look and feel as they do the things they love every day,” Hinds-Pearl says. “Revlon has a long history of empowering women. It’s one of the reasons I joined the company. After featuring Naomi Sims, Revlon also supported the women’s movement when its ads for the Charlie fragrance confidently displayed Shelley Hack striding in pants.”

Hinds-Pearl says an effective corporate compliance program is tailored to its company’s industry and shaped by risk tolerance. She adds external partners like Moody’s provide diligence services focused on identifying business, legal and financial issues that help Revlon assess and manage third party risks.

Setting the standards

In April, Revlon introduced a revised and updated code of conduct and business ethics she and her team compiled and wrote. The new code covers workplace issues including harassment, data protection and even third-party risks, where background checks raise questions about government sanctions, for example. Hinds-Pearl says the code sets guidelines to prevent conflicts of interest and avoid corruption risks. Those guidelines are necessary as anti-corruption, antitrust, and data privacy and protection laws expand globally.

“The code of conduct and business ethics underscores the importance of the company’s values of accountability, collaboration, inclusion and innovation,” Hinds-Pearl says.

She and her team emphasize compliance in a variety of ways, including online town hall-style training, small group sessions and one-on-one counseling. Training for the code of conduct this year features employees from different disciplines explaining risk topics such as workplace respect, human rights, protecting data and pitfalls around third party engagements.

Hinds-Pearl adds the policies and training alone are not enough to reinforce compliance and manage risk. To encourage employees to speak up and raise concerns, there’s a compliance help line to call using local phone numbers in Revlon locations around the world. There’s also a QR code they can scan on their phones to submit a question directly to compliance staff.

Taking the logical step

Hinds-Pearls’ journey to a career in compliance began when her parents gave her a choice of pursuing medicine or law. After emigrating to Queens, New York from Barbados, they set high professional expectations for Alison and her sister as they raised them.

Hinds-Pearl earned her bachelor’s degree in literature from American University in Washington, D.C. She chose her major after legal staff she met while serving an internship in high school at Queens County Family Court told her being able to read, write and interpret were valuable tools for an attorney.

After earning her J.D. from Indiana University School of Law, Hinds-Pearl returned to New York and served as an assistant district attorney in the Bronx, prosecuting domestic violence and sex crimes cases before entering private practice with Aaronson Rappaport Feinstein & Deutsch in 1996.

Hinds-Pearl left private practice in 2004 to become senior corporate counsel with Quest Diagnostics. While managing litigation, she began to advise on regulatory compliance matters. In 2008, she joined Bayer, where she helped guide compliance with reimbursement and government programs for diabetes care products before becoming compliance counsel.

In May 2016, Hinds-Pearl joined Mastercard as vice president and North America compliance counsel, the position she held until joining Revlon. She says becoming a chief compliance officer was the next logical and fulfilling career step she could take.

“I’ve been very fortunate to work with great people and companies,” Hinds-Pearl says. “The support and leadership my incredible team, peers and our management provide is unparalleled. I’m humbled by the trust Revlon employees place in compliance and the pride our organization takes in maintaining an ethical culture.”

View this feature in the Vanguard Summer I 2023 Edition here.

Published on: May 30, 2023

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