When the Sarbanes-Oxley Act became law in July 2002, Honeywell was emerging from a tumultuous period that included a failed merger with General Electric, three CEO's in 12 months and major organizational realignment. As the then-new Chairman and CEO Dave Cote began efforts to revitalize the company and drive sustainable profit growth, he made clear from the outset that a culture of governance and integrity was a top priority, and essential for Honeywell to succeed. As he told shareholders in 2002: "Credibility is our most valuable asset."
Governance groups have given Honeywell high marks for its program, which mandates a code of conduct and embraces the One Honeywell performance culture. RiskMetrics Group awarded it a corporate governance quotient of 100 in the capital goods industry group, making it No. 1 in that category. RiskMetrics based its scores on factors including board policies, takeover defenses, compensation and ownership issues, audit integrity and compliance.