COVID-19 Risk Management: Respond, Recover, Thrive

How Risk Management Can Help Retailers’ Crisis Response

RILA recently partnered with Deloitte and Walmart to host an interactive panel on COVID-19 impacts on retail risk management (internal audit, legal, and compliance) functions. The panel featured: Kate Ferrara, National Retail Risk and Financial Advisory Leader, Deloitte; Ranjani Narayanan, Senior Manager, Internal Audit, Deloitte; and Todd Sears, Senior Vice President, Chief Audit Executive, Walmart.

The panel highlighted four major areas where COVID-19 is significantly impacting retail operations:

  1. demand and supply chain violability
  2. cashflow pressures and financing needs
  3. inventory challenges
  4. new consumer behaviors with an almost, overnight digital transformation of retail online.

Retailers are adapting business operations to comply with rapidly changing legal requirements, supply chain restrictions and consumer demand.  Ms. Ferrara highlighted the three phases of crisis response:

  • Respond – prepare/manage continuity
  • Recover – learn and emerge
  • Thrive – prepare for the next normal
As retailers transition from the “Respond” phase to the “Recover” phase and plan for the “Thrive” phase, they must address new and emerging risks in the following areas: cybersecurity, fraud, employee and customer safety, third party (vendors and service providers), financial disclosures, regulatory compliance and more.

Risk functions, as key members of companies’ crisis management teams, can highlight these and other emerging risks, and apply a risk and control mind-set to new and developing processes. With their unique view on process design and implementation, engaged risk functions can optimize processes and mitigate future risks.

Going forward, creative, effective, and integrated risk functions will need to continue to increase use of new technologies to remain nimble and flexible in meeting meet businesses’ changing needs.

View the presentation here (members only)

For more information on RILA’s Legal Direct Reports Committee, Compliance Council and Internal Audit Committee, please contact Kathleen McGuigan, EVP & Deputy GC at or Tom Casey, VP Legal Affairs at

  • Legal Affairs & Compliance

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