Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos Business Risks

52 Risks® Update (September 2021):  Putting the G into Risk Governance White Paper, Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos’ Business Risks, It’s Time for Detailed Climate Change Risk Scenario Planning, Weighing up COVID-19 Workplace Health and Safety Choices, and more 


risk management governance whitepaper

Putting the G into Risk Governance White Paper
I recently collaborated with the US-based board software and governance group, Diligent, on risk governance. The Whitepaper I authored, Putting the G into Risk Governance, details the latest thinking on what good risk governance looks like. It provides tips and guidance for all boards, irrespective of industry or size of enterprise in the elusive quest for ‘fit for purpose’, robust and effective risk management governance and oversight practices.

The Whitepaper focuses on the important features of effective risk governance including board risk governance, the role of a risk committee, the key components of a risk management framework or strategy, risk appetite setting, risk reporting, and the link between risk culture, remuneration and risk outcomes.

To download the Whitepaper, go to the Diligent website and click on this link (you will need to enter your details to download the paper).

Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos’ Business Risks
The commencement of the trial of Elizabeth Holmes in the US last month again shines the light on one of the most famous scandals in recent times. Holmes and her former business partner allegedly defrauded investors and patients of their blood-testing company Theranos.

The scandal has already been the subject of a best-selling book, Bad Blood, and a HBO documentary. It has the making of a great business school case study.

The Theranos scandal, while allegedly fraudulent activity at its heart, arose out of a range of challenging business risk issues: management risk, business model risk, product development risk, revenue risk, expense risk, operations & process risk, employee fraud risk, and regulatory & compliance risk were all evident in the Theranos business.

You can buy the book on Amazon here .

Climate Change Risk

It’s Time for Detailed Climate Change Risk Scenario Planning
The latest report from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis, concludes that climate change is “widespread, rapid, and intensifying”.

Business owners, boards and executive teams now need to urgently take a ‘whole of enterprise’ approach and start developing concrete plans to address the impact of climate change. It’s much more than putting a sustainability statement on a website, putting solar panels on the roof of a factory, or recycling paper in the office.

Assessing climate change risk should now be considered a critical part of building organizational resilience over the short, medium and long term. An important part will also be to look to the opportunities that there will be to grow businesses and take advantage of the changing business environment during the transition to a lower carbon economy. The article Climate Change Risk – The Strategic Imperative on the 52 Risks website outlines a simple, six-step process any organisation can follow to develop a strategic roadmap to address the impact of climate change risk on its businesses.

Weighing Up COVID-19 Workplace Health and Safety Choices
During my career I have made a conscious decision to avoid discussing or getting too involved in politics or religion. I am probably going to add COVID-19 vaccinations to this list given the angst across many sectors of the community around individual choices and vaccination passports.

Notwithstanding this, businesses and workplace are grappling with COVID-19 vaccination issues and seeking guidance on the way forward. For those looking to navigate their businesses through workplace vaccination issues here are some good links:

All business will need to stare into this and navigate their way through the myriad of workplace health and safety, employment law, employee relations, and other risk issues.

Peter Deans