The audit committee’s role in special investigations

Boards and General Management, Board risk oversight

Audit Committee Leadership Network, December 2022

Regulators, shareholders, employees, and the media all look to boards to oversee investigations of major allegations and to resolve issues with integrity. Audit committees often lead these special investigations, which are complex, costly, time consuming, and vital to restoring stakeholder confidence.

On November 11, 2022, members of the Audit Committee Leadership Network (ACLN) met in Washington, DC, to discuss this topic with Sally Yates, partner in King & Spalding’s special matters and government investigations practice and leader of the firm’s crisis management practice. Ms. Yates had a long and distinguished career in the US Department of Justice (DOJ), serving as deputy attorney general and acting attorney general of the United States.

This ViewPoints summarizes important considerations for audit committees that were raised in the session and in premeeting conversations. It is organized around three stages of an investigation:

  • The preliminary inquiry 

  • Overseeing the investigation 

  • Concluding the investigation