SOURCE: Forum for Corporate Directors

August 28, 2007 09:30 ET

Hoffman-La Roche CEO to Address FCD Dinner on Board Planning for Potential Flu Pandemic

FCD Board Members Urged to Fulfill Corporate Responsibility to Ensure Business Continuity and Protect Employees If Faced With Pandemic

NEWPORT BEACH, CA--(Marketwire - August 28, 2007) - The Forum for Corporate Directors (FCD), a leading Southern California resource for achieving corporate board excellence and best practices governance, announces that George Abercrombie, president and chief executive officer of leading pharmaceuticals company Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., will provide strategic insights into pandemic planning for businesses during a dinner program on September 5, 2007. Mr. Abercrombie will share the immediate actions that board members and senior executives should take to ensure that their company is prepared for a pandemic.

"While the Orange County Healthcare Agency and Department of Education have escalated pandemic planning to the highest levels, many local corporations are far behind," said Abercrombie. "This is an issue that must not be avoided, as doing nothing leaves employees, businesses and resources open to tremendous risk."

The World Health Organization, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) all say a global flu pandemic is imminent and the CDC reports the economic impact could reach $150 billion. Orange County is home to leading tourism, retail and manufacturing businesses, which would likely suffer grave economic losses should a pandemic strike.

"It will be essential to Orange County's economic livelihood that companies be prepared should the worst case pandemic scenario occur," said Abercrombie. "Beyond company leaders, employees can also play an important role in holding their company's management accountable by inquiring about what is being done in preparation for a pandemic."

George Abercrombie will urge business leaders to add pandemic planning to their next board meeting agenda to uphold their corporate fiduciary and ethical responsibilities to stakeholders -- including employees, customers, shareholders and the community. Roche provides information on how businesses can organize their own pandemic plans online at

"This is a timely and very important topic for all corporate boards because of the potential impact on companies and their employees worldwide," said John Rehfeld, FCD chairman.

"The magnitude of impact carries huge corporate significance and responsibility," Rehfeld added. "According to a poll conducted earlier this year by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, up to 66 percent of U.S. companies believe an influenza pandemic would seriously disrupt their operations -- but only 20 percent of businesses are already in a good position to respond effectively."

C-level executives and directors are charged with protecting businesses and their value for stakeholders, but many have little knowledge about what is being done about pandemic preparedness in their organizations. Not making plans for a corporate response could leave executives and boards of directors open to tremendous risk, Rehfeld noted.

"George Abercrombie is uniquely qualified to provide insight into the immediate actions that board members and the C-suite can take to plan for a pandemic in accordance with their corporate responsibilities," Rehfeld said. "This will be an important event for our members and for all directors and executives in Southern California."

The dinner will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 5, at the Hyatt Regency Irvine (17900 Jamboree Road) in Irvine. This event is a complimentary membership benefit for all FCD members. The cost for non-members is $90 per person, with a discount price of $72 for UC Irvine guests.

For additional information, please visit the Forum for Corporate Directors web site at

About Forum for Corporate Directors

Founded in 1991, the Forum for Corporate Directors (FCD) is a leading Southern California resource that fosters enterprise value growth through excellence in corporate governance and boardroom leadership. FCD is a non-profit organization that offers dynamic forums for director peer interaction, conducts ISS-certified director education and development programs, and provides directors and executives of public and private companies and non-profit organizations the opportunity to gain valuable ideas and information that promote board leadership and corporate governance.

The FCD's members include many of Southern California's top business and corporate leaders. In addition, corporate members include Advanced Medical Optics, Alacer Corp., Broadcom Corporation, Emulex Corporation, Multi-Fineline Electronix, Microsemi Corporation, Powerwave Technologies, QLogic Corporation, Resources Global Professionals, SRS Labs, and The Paul Merage School of Business Executive MBA Programs at UC Irvine.

Contact Information

  • Editors, for further information please contact:
    Michelle Conry
    Operations Director
    Forum for Corporate Directors
    (949) 375-3323
    Email Contact

    Al Wasilewski
    Hoffmann-La Roche Inc.
    (973) 943-9252