These are the times against which we will be measured. We are part of an organization that is usually measured by its economic impact. For the next several weeks, perhaps longer, we will be measured by the actions we take or fail to take – both large and small – to combat the impact of COVID-19’s global spread.
To that end, I want to share with you the principles that will guide our decision making. Please know that the number of decisions that will need to be made will grow, both in number and complexity. Some decisions will be made, and later changed. While we cannot make every decision today, we can communicate the principles which will guide our decisions.
The principles guiding our decisions are that Post will take every possible action to:
–Safeguard the health of our employees;
–Maintain continuity of our supply chain; and
–Protect our employees from economic hardship borne from this storm.
Executing against this plan is going to require a customized approach for each business within Post Holdings, as each business faces different challenges. Moreover, in addition to our business challenges being different, this global crisis has been impacting local communities with considerable differences in its pace and intensity. But these principles will be adhered to across the company.
If you are sick, please respect and follow quarantine protocols. Do not hesitate to get tested if you are experiencing symptoms, and we will provide paid leave during that entire cycle. We will not ask people to use sick days or paid time off when they are impacted by COVID-19. If you need to stay home to care for yourself, someone who is sick or when school is cancelled, do so. It is critical you notify your manager and HR contact as soon as possible if you are faced with any of these challenges. With broad latitude comes the risk of abuse, so I am asking for your help. While we ask you to explore all available resources to come to work when you are healthy, we will also help you in any way we can.
As a broader society, we have an imperative to help one another. If you are healthy and able, be willing. Be willing to do more than you are asked. If you know someone who is critical to supply chain continuity, but cannot come to work, offer to help that person. Volunteer to be at the ready. Do not wait to be asked.
Post is in strong financial condition. While this situation is evolving, it appears that our retail business will benefit from the incremental at home demand and our foodservice business will see some declines in volume. We believe the retail demand is strong enough that some of the foodservice business will be allocated toward retail. On balance, this proves the resiliency of our diversified portfolio of businesses.
I realize most of you do not know me personally. I too am worried. I too have parents in high risk groups. It is likely that all of us will be touched in some way. This is a difficult time. We will endure this, but my goal is that we do better than endure – that we contribute, we help and even lead our communities by practicing behavior that will reduce the spread of this virus. The good news is that by simply doing what we all do for a living, bringing sustenance to our consumers, we ease at least one pain point during this crisis. If we achieve that, we have every right to be proud.
Robert V. Vitale, President and CEO, Post Holdings, Inc.
Cautionary Statement on Forward-Looking Language
Forward-looking statements, within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, are made throughout this letter. These forward-looking statements are sometimes identified from the use of forward-looking words such as “will,” “believe” or similar expressions. These forward-looking statements include, among others, statements regarding Post’s financial condition and impacts on Post’s business due to the recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). All forward-looking statements are subject to a number of important factors, risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in any forward-looking statements. These factors and risks include, but are not limited to, financial, operational and legal risks and uncertainties detailed from time to time in Post’s cautionary statements contained in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements represent Post’s judgment as of March 16, 2020. Post disclaims, however, any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.