Bigot List

Term used to describe a list of company employees who know key trade secrets, know-how, or business secrets, typically maintained by the human resources department in conjunction with the legal department.  Bigots lists are also common in the planning and negotiation of public company mergers, to help control insider trading as well as the consequences of an abortive acquisition bid.

The origin of the term was World War II when, in 1943-4 as the Normandy invasion was being planned, those Allied officers who knew the secrets of location and time were codenamed “bigots,” an unusual and odd, but not totally unnatural word to use in conversation.

To make a Bigot List effective it is important that persons on the list be kept informed of who amongst their immediate colleagues have been added to the list, so they know who they can discuss any issues with. Generally persons sharing the same office space should be included on the list.  A major weakness that can arise in such lists is a failure to include support personnel such a secretaries, clerks, etc. who may be able to surmise what certain activities suggest, or may indeed in the course of their duties have access to individual bigot’s diaries, email, files and correspondence.