The listeriosis contamination at Maple Leaf Foods, tragic though it is, provides an opportunity to see crisis management in action by a major Canadian company. Even more important is the ability to see the president and CEO, Michael McCain (of the McCain frozen foods clan) provide crisis leadership at a time of great stress and anxiety for the company and its customers. I think he has been doing a superb leadership job and I would like to examine his performance through the lens of four key principles of highly effective crisis leadership.
I firmly believe that when the leader of a company or organization takes full responsibility for a crisis and is intimately involved in its resolution, then this serves the public good and the long-term good of the organization. When the crisis is resolved Maple Leaf Foods will need to rebuild its reputation and public trust. The costs will be great. There might even be lawsuits and other unfathomable costs. However, and this is critical, there is no viable alternative to McCain’s actions and declarations. His due diligence has set the standard for his employees and executives. It provides the best possibility of rapid resolution of the crisis but also the best defence in the future, as the company will inevitably face calls for increased regulation and possible legal action.Back to newsletters