foo to yoo

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Question for analysts: Bird flu

Visiting a company last week, I was surprised and impressed to see in every bathroom a sticker above the sink asking people to wash their hands to help prevent influenza. Included on the sticker was the (easy to remember) URL for the company's internal "Influenza Readiness" site. In addition, I learned that the company has distributed hand sanitizer to all employees.

I was impressed that this company has taken these steps, at a minimum, to address and mitigate some of the risks of an influenza pandemic. Thinking about the kind of forward-looking risk management that this represents, I would think that securities analysts would want to ask companies the following questions:

  • How would an influenza pandemic (or other pandemic) affect your business?
  • What steps have you taken to mitigate these risks and ensure the continued performance of the business?
  • Has an influenza readiness plan been created?
  • Are the employees aware of the plan if it has been created, or is it limited to key staff?

My guess is that many companies have not thought through their response to such a threat, even in industries that would be hard hit by a pandemic. So get to work, analysts!


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