Never before has the board’s relationship with the investor relations officer (IRO) been so important. Across today’s corporate governance landscape, issues and opportunities are unfolding in realtime, and boards are expected to play a greater role in the investor relations process.
Today’s IROs have a new set of challenges and responsibilities, even when compared to just five or ten years ago. A shareholder-driven environment has necessitated new skill sets in IR, while ESG factors and say-on-pay votes add yet another layer of complexity.
As boards increasingly lean on IROs, it’s important for them to understand how the role is evolving, particularly beyond the traditional investor relations function.
Into the World of IROs
Nasdaq’s new blog series “Intro to an IRO” (#IntroToAnIRO) aims to highlight these changes from the viewpoint of the IROs themselves: What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing today? How has your role evolved? What advice do you have for the next generation of IROs?
In the first of this blog series, Nasdaq features Mike Saviage, VP of Investor Relations at Adobe, who provides a fascinating window into a new breed of IROs. Investor relations is no longer just a ‘finance job,’ said Saviage, who had no financial experience when he stepped into the position 18 years ago. What he did have was extensive experience in the company’s products, customers, and front-line challenges:
…Financial analysts and sell-side and buy-side professionals can get all the financial information they need from your financial statements or from online resources. What they really need to understand is: How is it unique or different from anybody else in this space? What’s the size of the opportunity? How are you going to grow? What are the impediments to growth? It’s more around the idea that you need experience in business and in products and strategy and less around being able to help somebody read the balance sheet or read the income statement.
A few months ago, we invited Nasdaq’s VP of Investor Relations, Ed Ditmire, along with Nasdaq SVP and Corporate Secretary, Joan Conley, to join us on Inside America’s Boardrooms. Ditmire highlighted several nuances of the IRO role, particularly as it related to board communication—everything from reporting the “street view” of competitors to inviting stock analysts into the boardroom to share their view from the trenches.
Stay tuned to Nasdaq’s MarketInsite blog for more from the “Intro to an IRO” series!