15 questions with Chris Hollis of LVMH
1. How long have you been in IR?
More than 20 years: five in the US and nearly 16 in France.
2. What did you do before IR?
I worked for Elf Aquitaine, negotiating oil & gas contracts before spending five years in Brunei Darussalam in Asia, responsible for the finance and administration of Elf’s exploration subsidiary.
Chris Hollis of LVHM and French IR association Cliff
3. what are your qualifications?
I’m a chartered accountant and member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
4. How is your team set up?
I have a very capable team of five; two are more outward-facing, meeting with investors/analysts; one is more concentrated on SRI issues, the website and competitive analysis; one looks after our Shareholder Club and the logistics of our AGM; and my assistant helps co-ordinate roadshows, logistics and the team.
5. How many roadshows and investor conferences do you usually take part in each year?
We aim to meet our platinum accounts at least twice a year, our gold accounts about once a year and our silver accounts at least once every two years. Last year we achieved this within 430 meetings.
6. Do you hold investor days?
We hold field trips rather than investor days; these are designed to drill down into one part of our business to allow a better understanding of the subject.
7. Do you use social media as part of your IR program?
Only to direct followers to our press releases. We do, however, monitor what is being said about us on social media.
8. Do you receive support from any external IR firms?
Only for shareholder ID and the logistics of events like the AGM and results meeting.
9. What is the most popular question from investors and analysts right now?
As the leader (and benchmark) within our sector, we have questions on a number of topics. Short-term queries concern recent trends – for our industry, the situation in Asia, the Chinese customer and the impact of the internet are popular. Long-term questions address how we plan to maintain our leadership/where we will invest. And the popular generalist question is, ‘What should I have asked you that I haven’t?’!
10. What’s been the biggest challenge of your IR career?
To build credibility and trust both inside and outside the company so that you are considered a good, reliable source of useful and insightful information.
11. What’s your favorite thing about doing IR?
Meeting interesting, intelligent people and learning from them.
12. And your least favorite?
Seeing my colleagues wasting time with visitors who have clearly not prepared for the meeting; the minimum preparation results in a better use of everyone’s time.
13. If you could pass on one IR lesson, what would it be?
Listen to understand, not only to reply.
14. How many professionals hold cliff’s IR certificates?
By the end of 2016, we expect that more than 50 professionals will have received the IR certification.
15. What are Cliff’s 2017 plans?
Next year is our 30th anniversary so we have an active year planned: several topical breakfast meetings, the 10th edition of the Observatoire de la Communication Financiere publication Financial communication: Framework and practices, and our annual seminar in December.
This article appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of IR Magazine