NEW YORK: GCI has made a move into investor relations, hiring former Morgen-Walke executive and financial relations expert, Douglas Sherk.
Sherk, who will spearhead the push into IR from the company's New York headquarters and West Coast San Francisco office, will assume the title of senior vice president and managing director. His hire is significant because GCI, a PR, public affairs and marketing communications company, has never had a full-time IR practice.
Sherk will assist the firm with building its global financial practice in Europe. GCI has offices in Dusseldorf, Germany and London.
One area in which GCI plans to focus in 1999 is individual, self-directed investors, Sherk said. These are individuals that manage their own stocks, rather than relying on money managers.
'One of the things we're looking at is how to meet and communicate with that self-directed investor,' he said.
According to industry statistics, individual self-directed investors make up about 20% of today's retail stock trading volume.
The firm is also looking to garner a significant portion of its US revenues from building an IR practice in North America. 'We're looking to achieve 10-15% of North American revenue in a five-year period,' Sherk said.
Prior to joining GCI, Sherk served as a partner with Morgen-Walke Associates, where he started its San Francisco office in 1989. There, he built the business to $4 million in annual fees and garnered more than 50 IR clients.
Before joining Morgen-Walke, Sherk served as a partner and executive vice president with New York PR firm Spencer & Rubinow, from 1980 to 1986.
Sherk, who has 18 years' experience in investor and financial relations, has been involved with more than 50 initial public offerings, as well as mergers and acquisitions and crisis counseling for public companies.