David Novak was the CEO of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM) during the 2003 SARS outbreak and the avian flu scare in 2014. On Monday he said his leadership focused on emerging from health scares as an "even stronger company."
The current coronavirus outbreak is no different than other health scares as the only way out of it is "through it," Novak said on CNBC. Many companies in China have learned from the past and put in place measures to help protect its people and company. For example, team members at restaurants implement a "contactless" method where no one physically touches any food with their hands.
History is also a reminder to investors that business "always bounce back," he said. Nevertheless, right now is a "real challenging time" for everybody involved but it is "all hands on deck."
Why It's Important
Yum Brands immediately called on outside experts during prior health scares to better understand the problem, he said. The company has called on individuals from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and private doctors with the objective of extracting information to protect supply chains and operations.
"The more experience we had, the easier it was for us to really develop those protocols and put things in place," the CEO said.
Also important is for companies to be supportive of the communities most impacted by health scares. Most recently,
The U.S. imports around $5 billion worth of agricultural products from China each year, so any pandemic will require changes to food security and safety, Matthew Wadiak, Blue Apron (NYSE:ARPN) co-founder, said Friday on Bloomberg. One area in particular that people are starting to focus on now is the grain sector which is also used to feed animals.