As business continuity planning professionals assume a key role in helping banks navigate the coronavirus, Morgan Stanley's contingency planning is in the hands of an ex-army intelligence expert and former special assistant to Obama whom it hired in February 2017.
Jen Easterly was promoted as global head of Morgan Stanley's Fusion Resilience Center in December 2019. As such, she has responsibility for steering the bank through everything from cybersecurity, fraud, technology incidents, terrorism, weather events, geopolitical unrest, and...pandemics.
Two months into the new job, she's been handed one of the most complex business continuity issues of the lot.
"A pandemic episode is one of the most complicated to manage from a business continity perspective," says the head of markets at one bank in Europe. - Unlike a terrorist attack or cybersecurity breach, a pandemic is ongoing and potentially all-consuming in the sense that staff globally can be impacted.
Easterly spent 17 years in the military and government before joining Morgan Stanley. As well as her three years working for Obama coordinating counterrorism and hostage policy, she commanded the U.S. army's first cyber-warfare battallion. Until December 2019, Easterly's focus at Morgan Stanley was on cyber-warfare: pandemic planning may be outside her natural comfort zone.
LinkedIn suggests there are 21 people in Morgan Stanley's Fusion Resilience Team globally, with the EMEA crisis response team run by Sarah Ridley. Ridley was a PA on the London trading floor for three years until she assumed the role in January 2020.
The bank has today asked employees not to travel internationally for non-essential business purposes. It's also reportedly preparing a back-up New York trading floor in Westchester County.
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