Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, More Companies Welcome New CMOs — Chief Medical Officers

September 2020
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Tyson Foods and Royal Caribbean Cruises are among companies that have recently added chief medical officers to their C-suites to help protect employees and consumers.

As The Wall Street Journal reported on Aug. 11, the food processing and cruise-ship companies both rely on thousands of employees who work in confined quarters where coronavirus outbreaks have occurred this year.

While CMOs traditionally have been found in health-care or pharmaceutical companies, the pandemic is broadening the scope of sectors that need medical leaders, said Andrew Diamond, CMO of One Medical, a company that provides primary medical care in workplaces. “The more you [are] responsible for caring for people, the more likely you need a CMO,” he said.

Calvin Johnson, Royal Caribbean’s recently named CMO, will oversee worker health for the cruise line and help establish new sailing protocols for the industry. After widespread coronavirus outbreaks on several ships in the early months of the pandemic, the cruise industry is working to regain consumer confidence. Tyson Foods reportedly created its new CMO role ahead of plans to hire nearly 200 nurses and support staff to help with on-site testing at its plants.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, thousands of workers in meat-processing plants are estimated to have been infected over the past five months, and nearly 100 of them have died. Tyson said it has tested about one-third of its U.S. workforce and found an overall infection rate below 1 percent.

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