Final thoughts on the NIRI conference

The very first presentation, "The Big Picture: Investor Relations Today," was made by Len Griehs, VP of IR for the Campbell Soup Company. He said...

The very first presentation, "The Big Picture: Investor Relations Today," was made by Len Griehs, VP of IR for the Campbell Soup Company. He said that while once the focus was on the individual investor, it's now on the institutional investor; Reg-FD and other government regulation has created a complicated communications landscape. He also made a somewhat scary declaration: "Market volatility is the new life." In other words, the fluctuating stock market, the jittery investor, and his or her abrupt reactions are now the norm.

The next day's moderator, Andrew Kramer, warned those in the audience that they will, he guaranteed, have a bad quarter that they'll have to account for at some point.

The IRO then must seemingly have a crisis communications plan at the ready, prepared to convey bad news and uncertainty while also generating investment interest. The conference made it clear that the IRO position - part finance, part PR and communications - is a tough job that's rewarding when things are going well and downright depressing when it's not. Best to have a strategy, a message, and the ability to execute no matter what gets tossed at you.

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