Michael Ward is a partner in the Palo Alto office. His practice focuses on assisting senior executives and corporate boards by leading responses to critical enforcement challenges, such as government and internal investigations. He also emphasizes the need for companies to protect shareholder value and senior leaders from enforcement action by taking proactive and practical measures that reduce the likelihood and severity of an enforcement action. His rare background having experience both as a former federal prosecutor and a chief compliance officer enables him to understand and anticipate enforcer perceptions and provide clients with practical and actionable guidance to address those concerns.
Mike has deep enforcement experience having served 16 years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice in Minneapolis, where he led multiple federal crime investigations, tried over 50 federal criminal jury trials. He supervised the investigation and prosecution of numerous federal crimes, including public corruption, insider trading, money laundering, terrorist financing, bank fraud, currency transaction structuring, price fixing, government contracting frauds and export control violations. After a long career as a federal prosecutor, Mike took a position with Target Corporation where he led the retail company's worldwide internal investigations function including fraud within its global supply chain. He also designed and implemented Target's first corporate compliance program. Mike subsequently moved to McKesson Corporation in San Francisco where he was Director of Ethics & Compliance for the global pharma and healthcare distribution company. Thereafter, Mike has served as Chief Compliance Officer and designed and led award winning compliance programs at a series of leading companies in Silicon Valley including Adobe Systems, Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks.
At Juniper, Mike served as a chief risk and compliance officer for a Silicon Valley-based networking equipment company. Notably, he oversaw a six-year Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation that spanned across multiple countries. He also led a worldwide ethics and compliance program, enterprise risk management program, and multiple legal operations teams. Mike is experienced in implementing best practices in corporate compliance programs that demonstrate companies' commitments to fulfilling their legal obligations.
Reflecting both his credibility as a former prosecutor and his hands on operational experience in leading effective compliance programs in the real world, Mike has recently been selected and appointed as an Independent Compliance Monitor for a global internet content platform company where he is responsible for assessing and externally reporting on its compliance program effectiveness.
Mike has been recognized with the National Director's Award for Outstanding Performance in response to his contribution to the U.S. Department of Justice. Mike serves as a board member on both the Bay Area Ethics & Compliance Association (BECA) and the High Tech Compliance Group. Immediately after obtaining his J.D. from George Washington University School of Law, he served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Oliver Seth, Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit.