As the situation around the world with regards to COVID-19 continues to evolve, CEO Mark Schneider has sent a message to Nestlé employees.
The COVID-19 situation has evolved further and we are dealing with a significant global challenge.
The World Health Organization has declared this outbreak a pandemic. Many governments around the world have taken stricter and more impactful measures to ensure the safety of their citizens.
In addition to the immediate and grave health concerns, we are seeing a much wider impact on all of our lives as well as the global economy.
Understandably, there is a great sense of unease everywhere.
It is in this context that I would like to address you on behalf of our Chairman, our entire Board of Directors, our Executive Board and myself.
First and foremost, we would like to thank you for what you have done already to weather this crisis and to get our company prepared to cope with this situation. Your commitment makes all the difference.
We would also like to reassure you that as a company we are resilient. Over the course of 154 years, we have seen – and mastered – many challenging moments. We are convinced that we will overcome this one too.
And we would like to remind you of the special responsibility that a company like ours has at this time. Food and beverage products are essential to peoples’ lives. In moments like these our purpose and values matter a lot to the people and communities we serve.
It is in times of crisis that heroes are born. In all modesty, we want Nestlé’s values to shine at this difficult hour. We earnestly and humbly request all of you to contribute to this. This is the moment for extra effort, for going the extra mile. I fully recognize we are asking a lot because all of us are also busy managing challenging personal and family situations at this moment. Your effort will make a huge difference to our company and to our society.
We would like to recognize in particular our frontline employees and factory workers – your commitment and your discipline are critical at this time to maintain business continuity. It is our priority to support you in this important endeavor.
To overcome this unique challenge, we request all of you to stay focused on the three priorities we have outlined in earlier communication.
First, the safety of all of us is paramount. We can only make positive contributions and live our purpose and values if we stay healthy and avoid spreading the virus.
Second, business continuity is key. We need to focus our efforts on securing supplies, manufacturing and logistics every step of the way. For those areas that are not affected yet, get prepared by building inventories of critical supplies and products. Please get ready for the storm to hit – because hit it will.
And third – to the extent you can – please provide a helping hand to the communities around us and our many business partners around the globe. This is the moment to demonstrate grace under pressure. Many people and companies will be much harder hit than Nestlé and will have to cope with graver challenges as a result of this crisis. Please help them to get through this – it is part of our values and people will remember. This will be a time when we can be a true force for good.
This mindset also applies to all of us as colleagues. Due to our unique culture, we often refer to Nestlé as a family company. A challenging moment like this is the time to live family values. Unprecedented travel restrictions have led to difficult personal and family situations for many of our colleagues. Your personal caring and help can make a lot of difference to our colleagues and their families – it will also make us a stronger and even more united team. Please live and breathe the Nestlé team spirit.
While the virus threat is global in nature, the situation is different in each country and changing fast. Please follow the guidance from your Market Head and their COVID-19 Committees. They are working closely with local authorities.
I am proud and inspired by the way our company has risen to this challenge - with flexibility, resilience, courage – and a caring heart. Thank you for your enormous contributions. Let’s work together – across all parts of the business - to keep going. Let’s make this one of our finest hours.
Let me add a personal note. Along with everyone else at Nestlé I am working hard to cope with this crisis. We – and I – will be with you every step of the way. Like most of you I also have a family to worry about. I am a Nestlé colleague, but also a father, a husband and a son. At times like these, the worry list can be long for all of us, there are no exceptions. But I am also convinced that we will get through this, if we do not lose our self-confidence and our energy. It is literally in our hands.
Please, do look after yourselves and your families.
And stay safe. Thank you.
Mark Schneider, CEO