How the Trump White House has handled the president’s bout of coronavirus should give pause to anyone who heads an organization, including directors of Canadian publicly traded companies.
Holding large events where many, if not most, attendees are not wearing masks or face shields, as the White House did in introducing Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, was clearly reckless. The need for large events at all is questionable. Boards of directors should satisfy themselves that the corporations they govern follow public health guidelines. That President Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence were in close proximity to each other several times leading up to the president’s testing positive is another bad example not to copy. In most companies standard practice is for the CEO and his or her successor not to fly on the same aircraft.
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When it comes to disclosing an issue related to a chief executive officer’s health, the president and his team have provided another textbook example of what not to do. Dr. Sean Conley, the president’s doctor, has been less than clear with the public. He had to walk back comments he made Saturday morning about when exactly the president tested positive for COVID-19. He also dodged questions about whether Trump had received supplemental oxygen. This lack of transparency erodes public trust and confidence.