Continuing to be impacted by COVID-19, I4F CEO John Rietveldt released the following heartfelt message:
“To our dear friends, valued employees, licensees, partners, business relations and media:
Life as we know it has dramatically changed in just a matter of weeks. 2020 will go down in the history books as one of mankind’s darkest periods, and it’s certain to say that none of us will ever forget this unprecedented moment in time—nor will generations to come.
Our world has already lost so much, precious lives taken. Our freedom of movement temporarily hampered. The equilibrium of our economic structures weakening at an alarming speed. Each day brings us endless supplies of new information—sometimes uplifting; other times soul destroying. One stable factor, however, endures and we must continue to applaud and support everyone working on the front lines—those risking their health and working day and night to save or help others.
The safety of I4F employees, as well as their families and friends, is our No. 1 priority. To that end, we have implemented stringent measures to maximize their safety and are following government guidelines to the letter. I am pleased to inform you that, as of today, March 26, all our employees are healthy and working each day to support you as normal. We are doing our utmost to minimize business disruption through remote working, when and where possible.
Like most of us, you are probably asking yourself these two fundamental questions: what is to become of us and what should I do now?
Some might say we are unlucky to be going through this crisis; others would argue that we have a unique opportunity to rebuild our future and to make it more robust against outside influences, like the coronavirus, for next generations. Many of us feel out of control and want to take back the reins, so why not reach out and take them?
I see our future as a white canvas—ours to sketch out, ours to reshape and ours to fill with color and substance. Our starting point is mature, knowledge-based and highly experienced. It is important to learn from the recent COVID-19 experiences in China on how to overcome the virus and ensure business continuity. Most operations there have almost returned to normal activity.
Take this moment to rethink your possibilities and opportunities, protect what you have and plan for the rebuilding of a prosperous and healthy future by racing forward with unrelenting force.
The effects of COVID-19 will, almost certainly, change the way we conduct business going forward. Consumer behaviors and decisions will be altered, meaning that we will also need to adjust the way we operate. This, however, also presents us with opportunities in terms of new innovations in each part of our business and the creation of fresh initiatives. All this combined will help us emerge from this crisis smarter and stronger.
The I4F team is working on several new innovations as well as developing an improved way to communicate with the market and its licensees, taking into account all the current constraints. As always, we are here to help you in any way we can. Do not hesitate to contact any of us with any questions, concerns or ideas.
On behalf of the entire team, I wish you, your families, friends and colleagues good health and continued safety.
John Rietveldt, CEO, I4F”