First off, I must gush about the venue for the ceremony: Cipriani Wall Street is breathtaking. It's in beautiful old Beaux-Arts building (so says the Web site) that was once a bank, so there are sky-high ceilings, 16,000 square feet of space, and fabulous, tall columns. Just a lovely place, with good food to match.
So, executive editor Neil Stewart began with a few opening remarks, including a joke about Bear Stearns needing to scalp their tickets in place of attending (boos from the table behind me) and then turned the floor over to two CNBC anchors, Bill Griffeth (Power Lunch) and Melissa Francis (The Call). GE walked away big winners with best corporate governance, best comms with the retail market, and best overall IR. One winner in the best crisis communications, small to large-cap category (the other was Mattel) was JetBlue, which talked about staying on top with customers even after the snowstorm debacle last February. And, in what I would call an upset, Michael McShane from Grant Prideco beat out JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon for best IR by a chairman or CEO on the same week Dimon turned up on the cover of New York magazine. The crowd was silent.
Also, a tip for anyone hosting an event: have the cocktail hour in a museum. The cocktail hour for the event was at the Museum of American Finance. I grabbed a glass of wine and, when I couldn't find my tablemates, I looked at the exhibit. Brilliant.