Report from December meeting: Life Beyond IR
The Cincinnati Tri State Chapter of NIRI welcomed back four alumni to discuss “Life Beyond IR” at the December chapter meeting. Joining us were Hugh Anderson, VP/Senior Portfolio Manager, Fifth Third Investment Advisors; Kathy Kelly, President, Personal Finance, Kroger; Chris Peterson, VP Finance & Accounting, Global Health and Well Being, Procter & Gamble and Tim Stautberg, Senior Vice President/CFO & Treasurer of E.W. Scripps.
Kathy Kelly began her career at Fifth Third Bank in sales and joined Kroger where she spent twelve years in Treasury, eventually moving into IR for seven years. A side project she undertook while in the IR position, involving research conducted for the CFO and other members of management, evolved into Kroger’s financial services, which she now heads up.
Procter and Gamble has a rotational program for a portion of their IR effort. Chris Peterson had indicated an interest in the field and was called back unexpectedly from an assignment in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>Switzerland to begin a two and a half year stint in 2005. Following that, he was named CFO of the health and wellbeing division. Chris believes that IR prepares you well for line positions because it gives you an important overview of the whole company and makes you a better operator.
Tim Stautberg joined E.W. Scripps in 1990 after five years in commercial banking. He spent ten years on the newspaper side of the business in a series of rotational positions and was eventually asked by the chief operating officer to head up investor relations and communications back in Cincinnati. The firm was beginning its transition from a newspaper and TV media company to a greater emphasis on cable. His IR experience allowed him to help shape the corporate message, using his understanding of how investors view the company. Tim was at the table for capital and other strategic decisions and when the company was split he continued on with E.W. Scripps as CFO and Treasurer.
Hugh Anderson joined Central Trust Bank in 1969 as a securities analyst and moved to Cincinnati Bell as a financial advisor in the marketing department. He was a participant in the early stages of the IR profession, as it evolved from an emphasis on stock transfer and proxy management to true communication with investors. Following a change of management, Hugh decided to return to money management, quickly acquiring a substantial book of business at Fifth Third.
After sharing some anecdotes, including a few “IR Bloopers” (to use Kathy’s phrase), the panel concluded by saying that IR experience is particularly valuable because it allows us to view and understand the whole business as well as develop relationships with senior management. They recommended working to acquire new areas of expertise and to be willing to take on new projects. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>