Navigating Compliance: Katherine Delikoura’s Journey in Upholding Integrity

In the intricate landscape of corporate governance, the role of compliance officers stands as a cornerstone of integrity. Delving into the insights of one such luminary, Katherine Delikoura, Chief Compliance Officer at the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), reveals a journey marked by dedication, resilience, and unwavering commitment to high ethical standards. Let’s explore her odyssey, insights, and aspirations in the realm of compliance.

Exploring the Path to Compliance Leadership

Katherine’s journey to assuming the role of Chief Compliance Officer unfolds over a span of more than twenty years, characterized by a profound understanding of the intricacies of the multilateral development banking and a fervent dedication to mitigating risks. Reflecting on her formative years, she recalls the dynamic environment of the nineties and early 2000s, a period marked by significant shifts in the global banking landscape, including towards more stringent recommendations on supervisory oversight, capital adequacy and market discipline to strengthen the banking system under Basel Accords. “My journey commenced during a pivotal phase in banking history,” Katherine reminisces. “The [the advent of Basel II  in 2004] brought to light the complexities and vulnerabilities inherent in banking practices, igniting my curiosity and driving my focus towards the realms of risk management and compliance.” This pivotal moment not only shaped her professional trajectory but also laid the groundwork for her unwavering drive to upholding integrity and regulatory standards within the financial sector.

Unique Compliance Challenges at CEB

Leading the compliance efforts at CEB, which is Europe’s oldest multilateral development bank, Katherine confronts the ever-shifting geopolitical terrain, characterized by its intricacies and uncertainties. “Operating in regions grappling with issues like money laundering and corruption underscores the critical nature of our compliance work,” she elaborates. The presence of high-risk areas necessitates a proactive approach to due diligence, prompting an ongoing refinement of policies and practices to ensure strict adherence to compliance standards. This adaptive approach enables CEB to navigate the complex challenges inherent in its operational landscape more effectively, while upholding its commitment to integrity and ethical practices.

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Embedding Compliance in Company Culture

Katherine underscores that compliance is more than a department at CEB, and is deeply embedded in the organization’s core values and day-to-day operations. “We’ve cultivated a culture of integrity, transparency, and accountability that permeates every level of our organization,” she emphasizes. This commitment is reinforced through robust governance practices, transparent communication channels, and ongoing training programs aimed at fostering awareness and adherence to compliance standards across the board.

By instilling a strong emphasis on compliance in every decision and action, CEB ensures that integrity remains at the forefront of its operations, contributing to its reputation as a responsible and ethical institution.

Compliance Team Strength and Strategy Evolution

A robust compliance framework hinges upon the strength of its team. “Recruiting competent individuals and nurturing a culture of freedom and trust are paramount,” Katherine emphasizes. She elaborates, “At CEB, our core values of commitment, cooperation, transparency, and professionalism underpin our compliance ethos.” By aligning individual values with organizational principles, CEB cultivates a corporate-wide cohesive and effective compliance team that operates with integrity and a shared commitment to upholding compliance standards. This approach not only fosters a sense of belonging but also empowers team members to contribute meaningfully and share in our success.

Investment in cutting-edge technology is a cornerstone of CEB’s strategy to meet future compliance challenges. “Harnessing the potential of the latest compliance solutions is paramount,” Katherine asserts. She elaborates, “In a complex compliance landscape, harnessing innovative technologies and fully leveraging them are increasingly essential for risk detection and mitigation.” These planned investments will bolster the speed and efficiency of our compliance endeavors.

Predictions, Regulatory Adaptation, and Future Compliance Strategies

Looking ahead, Katherine anticipates challenges in the integrity due diligence process and heightened complexities in fraud and corruption. “Geopolitical uncertainties and the proliferation of AI-driven abuses necessitate proactive measures,” she predicts. ””It’s imperative for compliance professionals to stay ahead of emerging threats and technological advancements.”

Katherine Delikoura underscores the paramount importance of staying informed about regulatory changes by actively engaging with intergovernmental bodies, collaborating with peer multilateral development banks (MDBs), and keeping her finger on the pulse of change.

“Agility and efficacy are crucial in our compliance operations,” she remarks. This proactive stance enables CEB to anticipate regulatory shifts and promptly adjust.

Key Attributes Fueling Success

Katherine’s remarkable achievements in the realm of compliance are underpinned by her mastery of logical persuasion and an unwavering dedication to ethical principles. “Leading by example and cultivating a culture of integrity and professionalism have been fundamental tenets of my approach,” she emphasizes. Her leadership style is distinguished by a harmonious blend of people-centricity and a relentless pursuit of results, which has consistently cultivated cohesive and high-integrity teams under her guidance.

“Establishing trust and upholding stringent integrity standards have remained cornerstones of my leadership philosophy,” she elaborates, highlighting the enduring values that have propelled her success in navigating complex compliance landscapes.

Navigating Challenging Moments

Reflecting on her compliance journey, Katherine acknowledges the complexity inherent in investigating cases of corruption and fraud. “Such instances epitomize the epitome of a challenge,” she admits. She further reflects, “They demand a delicate balance between professional rigor and personal resilience.”It also involves meticulous attention to detail, on which the organization’s overall compliance framework relies.

Greatest Achievements and Impact Measurement

Katherine’s accolades, including winning the ‘Woman Chief Compliance Officer of the Year 2019,’ underscore her significant contributions to the field. “Such recognition reflects years of dedication and teamwork,” she reflects. She elaborates, “It serves as a testament to the collective efforts of our compliance team and reaffirms our commitment to upholding the highest standards of integrity.”

Additionally, CEB’s comprehensive compliance programs are evaluated through robust assessment mechanisms, ensuring adherence to integrity and transparency principles. This diligent evaluation process not only validates the effectiveness of their compliance initiatives but also fosters continuous improvement and accountability within the institution.

Advice for Aspiring Professionals

Offering guidance to aspiring compliance professionals, Katherine underscores the importance of integrity and continuous learning. “Entering the dynamic and fast-changing realm of compliance demands unwavering commitment to integrity,” she advises. She further emphasizes, “Embrace excellence, lead by example, and embody the virtues of integrity and humility.”

Drawing inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s wisdom, Katherine adds, “Great people are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.” This advice highlights the transformative power of integrity in shaping exemplary professionals, guiding them to navigate challenges with resilience and uphold ethical standards amidst evolving regulatory landscapes.


Katherine Delikoura’s journey epitomizes the essence of compliance leadership—a blend of expertise, integrity, and forward-thinking vision. As she continues to steer the compliance ship at CEB, her story serves as a guiding light for aspiring professionals, emphasizing the indispensable role of compliance in fostering trust, integrity, and sustainability for both multilateral development and the corporate world.