Like certified lawyers or auditors, the ombudspersons appointed by Bertelsmann are bound to professional secrecy. They are legally required to keep the identity of the person reporting misconduct confidential. The identity of a complainant may be revealed only with the complainant’s express consent.
Peter Blobel, a CPA and former auditor, and Dr. Rainer Buchert, a lawyer and former detective, serve as the Ombuds for Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. The Ombuds for North and South America is Dina Jansenson, an experienced mediator. Back-up Ombuds for the Americas are Dean Nicyper and Cynthia Watkins, both of whom are attorneys and mediators. Bertlesmann has established toll-free numbers for its Ombuds in 50 countries. (Bertlesmann Ombuds; Bertelsmann Code of Conduct.)
Many Ombuds will be intrigued by Bertelsmann's assertion that Ombuds are “legally required” to protect confidentiality, especially in many countries with different legal systems. Hopefully the basis of this position will become clear and Bertelsmann will be an important ally in securing additional legal protections for Ombuds.