IR’s top ranks in the US

May 30, 2012
<p>Snapshots of the winners of the IR Magazine US Awards 2012</p>

Now in its 17th year, this annual awards event, held in association with Bloomberg at Cipriani Wall Street in March, is the world’s largest celebration of investor relations performance. As always, investors and analysts were the judges: the research was overseen by IR magazine’s research arm, IR Insight, with analysts and investors interviewed by Mary Maude Research. More than 23,000 investment professionals identified by Ipreo were contacted; 714 took part.

A big twist for 2012 is the new US Top 100, a league table of the firms with the highest aggregate scores across the awards categories. It’s a ranking of the best companies in the US in terms of IR, whether or not they won awards. Over the last year IR magazine also launched the Euro Top 100, the Asia Top 50 and the Canada Top 50.

The US Top 100, along with comments from analysts and investors, interviews with short-listed companies and in-depth analysis, can be found in IR magazine’s Investor Perception Study, US 2012. The following are some excerpts.

Covidien

Grand prix for best overall investor relations program (large cap)
Best IR professional (large cap)
Best investment community meetings 
Best IR in sector – healthcare
US Top 100 ranking: 1

What the investment community says
‘Cole Lannum is extremely responsive and knowledgeable, and able to relate to investors. Covidien also provides the best access to top management.’

What the company says
‘We think of this job as 365–24/7. We really treat IR as a customer-focused kind of position and not just as public relations, so we spend a lot more time letting investors ask us what they want to hear than we do preparing lots of presentations about how great we are.’ – Cole Lannum, head of IR

Danaher

Best corporate governance 
Best IR during a corporate transaction
Best IR in sector – diversified industrials/automotive/forestry & paper
US Top 100 ranking: 2

What the investment community says
‘Danaher goes above and beyond to make sure investors understand the key growth drivers.’

What the company says
‘The IR team is constantly trying to improve our communications by actively seeking out feedback from both the buy side and the sell side, benchmarking ourselves against other companies’ IR efforts, and staying current with new trends and topics within the industry.’ – Matt McGrew, head of IR

Broadcom

Grand prix for best overall investor relations program (mid-cap)
Best IR by a CFO (mid-cap)
Best IR in sector – technology (mid & small-cap companies)
US Top 100 ranking: 10

What the investment community says
‘Everyone on Broadcom’s team knows the game and the firm holds great events, where you get good access to management.’

What the company says
‘Look, I talk to a lot of CFOs and some of them really disdain going out and talking to investors. I actually enjoy it; I really do.’ – Eric Brandt, CFO

HealthSouth

Grand prix for best overall investor relations program (small cap)
Best IR professional (small cap)
US Top 100 ranking: 14

What the investment community says
‘Mary Ann Arico is HealthSouth’s super-accessible and knowledgeable IRO. She puts together fantastic, comprehensive information. Chief executive Jay Grinney communicates key points exceptionally well and CFO Douglas Coltharp has made great strides to simplify the company’s confusing financials.’

What the company says
‘We just adapted to educate the investor base about what we saw coming out of Washington, what we expected and how we would react if certain scenarios occurred, to give investors and analysts as much certainty as we could.’ – Mary Ann Arico, chief IRO

Qualcomm

Best financial reporting 
Best IR in sector – technology (large-cap companies)
US Top 100 ranking: 3

What the investment community says
‘Qualcomm has done a good job of navigating its way through such volatile markets. It provides quality information in financial releases, including data on market share, average selling price and total units: all the information I need.’

What the company says
‘For me, coming into [IR], I looked at it as a sales role, where I watch my top 100 shareholders closely, figuring that – just like a customer – it is easier to keep one than go get one.’ – Bill Davidson, senior vice president of global marketing & IR

United Technologies

Best IR by a CFO (large cap) (jointly)
US Top 100 ranking: 5

What the investment community says
‘At investor meetings with United, we meet all the business leaders. The information they provide is succinct and relevant, without too much gloss.’

What the company says
‘We make everyone investors want to see available. It’s just consistently giving them what they want.’ – Greg Hayes, chief financial officer

Honeywell

Best IR by a CFO (large cap) (jointly)
US Top 100 ranking: 4

What the investment community says
‘Honeywell’s CFO is an effective communicator and the meetings follow a good routine.’

What the company says
‘My strong view is that you become a better leader and a better operator when you’ve got an active and healthy dialogue with shareowners and analysts.’ – David Anderson, CFO

The Coca-Cola Company

Best IR in sector – consumer goods
US Top 100 ranking: 6

What the investment community says
‘Coca-Cola’s investor tours are excellent, and each IR team member knows the company inside out.’

What the company says
‘Investors are rightly focused on the current global macroeconomic climate and want to understand how the company is growing the business during this volatility.’ – Jackson Kelly, head of IR

Allergan

Best IR by a CEO or chairman (large cap)
Best IR in sector – pharmaceuticals/biotech/chemicals
US Top 100 ranking: 9

What the investment community says
‘No management team in the pharmaceuticals space knows its products and company as well as the senior management, and no one communicates that knowledge as well.’

What the company says
‘Working with both sell-side analysts and buy-side investors is the same as any other valuable interaction with key groups of customers.’ – David Pyott, CEO

National Oilwell Varco

Best IR in sector – oil & gas/oil services
US Top 100 ranking: 17

What the investment community says
‘I speak as often as I can to the vice president of IR at National Oilwell. He always gives me an honest opinion about what is happening in the industry and in the company.’

Peabody Energy

Best IR in sector – metals & mining/coal/steel
US Top 100 ranking: =23

What the investment community says
‘One thing I particularly like is, in addition to sending a press release, it usually adds a personal note. I don’t know any other company that does that.’

What the company says
‘People look to us as being number one in our industry, somewhere they can go to source industry information as well as company information.’ – Vic Svec, head of IR

JPMorgan Chase & Co

Best IR in sector – finance/specialty finance/insurance
US Top 100 ranking: 11

What the investment community says
‘JPMorgan puts together a good line-up of business heads who can speak to you, and that’s the main thing.’

What the company says
‘If you have spent 14 years covering financial institutions and have the opportunity to work with the best management team, that’s an opportunity you should grab.’ – Sarah Youngwood, new head of IR

Limited Brands

Best IR in sector – retail
US Top 100 ranking: 22

What the investment community says
‘Limited Brands’ IR team is friendly and knowledgeable: whether you want to know more about the sector or a figure you don’t quite understand, one phone call and you will have your answer.’

What the company says
‘We are a value-based organization and we always lay a lot of emphasis on social and environmental responsibility. We go beyond being just a retail chain.’ – Amie Preston, head of IR

General Electric

Best crisis management
US Top 100 ranking: 13

What the investment community says
‘General Electric held a meeting recently, which was very well done, with a personal Q&A, not just a presentation. It asked us what we were thinking, and what we needed to know.’

What the company says
‘We spent time looking at how we could help the people of Japan, both through contributing back-up power immediately and also providing financial assistance.’ – Trevor Schauenberg, head of IR

Wyndham Worldwide

Most progress in IR 
Best IR in sector – leisure/media/restaurants
US Top 100 ranking: 12

What the investment community says
‘Wyndham puts a lot of effort into its IR. The team is proactive and always tries to get your feedback, so we get what we want to see in the reports.’

What the company says
‘What you are seeing is not so much a change as it is the wind finally catching our sails and the momentum we’ve been building over the last five years starting to take hold.’ – Margo Happer, head of IR

FedEx

Best IR in sector – transport
US Top 100 ranking: 30

What the investment community says
‘FedEx has several IROs covering different regions. Most have been at the company long enough to really know the business. There are lots of different people taking questions on conference calls, not just the CEO.’

What the company says
‘We have divided the world into four geographic investment regions and are very fortunate to have four full-time IROs who all independently meet with investors and analysts.’ – Mickey Foster, head of IR

(Mickey Foster won the 2011 lifetime achievement award.)

Progress Energy

Best IR in sector – utilities
US Top 100 ranking: =38

What the investment community says
‘Progress Energy is currently marketing with Duke Energy, and there is clarity about the forthcoming merger.’

What the company says
‘A lot of companies that get acquired shut down or slow down their IR programs. But we decided to stay active and keep answering questions from the investor community.’ – Bob Drennan, head of IR

Sirona Dental Systems

Best IR professional (mid-cap)
US Top 100 ranking: =38

What the investment community says
‘Good communication throughout. Sirona Dental explains clearly and points out nuances.’

What the company says
‘Like your Starbucks cappuccino, consistency in messaging is very important.’ – John Sweeney, former head of IR at Sirona, now at NASDAQ OMX

Ryder System

Best IR in sector – consumer services/business services
US Top 100 ranking: =38

What the investment community says
‘Ryder System’s IRO is the best in the industry: accessible, timely and knowledgeable.’

What the company says
‘Being involved in corporate strategy helps me paint the IR picture more clearly to investors, and the view we get from investors helps shape corporate strategies.’ – Bob Brunn, head of IR

Werner Enterprises

Best IR by a CFO (small cap)
US Top 100 ranking: =46

What the investment community says
‘Werner is very conservatively accounted for and no one ever speaks speculatively or with hyperbole.’

What the company says
‘Investors and analysts want you to know about your company. But sometimes they’re asking questions about the economy or the industry and it’s important to be able to share your thoughts and data supporting that.’ – John Steele, CFO

Cielo

Best IR by a Latin American company in the US market

What the investment community says
‘Both the CFO and CEO at Cielo are happy to discuss strategy in detail. They enjoy having a proper dialogue about the sector and potential movements in the market.’

What the company says
‘We prefer to deliver the basics effectively rather than frustrating investors’ expectations.’ – Roberta Bartoli de Noronha Shimizu, head of IR

Google

Best use of technology for IR
US Top 100 ranking: =65

What the investment community says
‘Google’s website has clear historical data and current news, all in the classic Google format.’

What the company says
‘We make sure we leverage our site because we have such a small team and we don’t want to be inundated with requests to send data.’ – Willa Lo, IR finance manager

ON Semiconductor

Best IR by a CEO or chairman (mid-cap)
US Top 100 ranking: 56

What the investment community says
‘ON Semiconductor was forthcoming during the Japanese tsunami crisis, and the IR team and CEO were as accessible as ever.’

What the company says
‘We have a very complex ecosystem so those who can help shed insight on that are going to help investors make the right choices.’ – Keith Jackson, CEO

Trina Solar

Best IR by an Asia-Pacific company in the US market

What the investment community says
‘The head of IR at Trina Solar was always responsive and knowledgeable when he was in China. Now that he has moved to the US, he is even quicker.’

What the company says
‘We are very familiar with the culture of investors and what they expect.’ – Thomas Young, head of IR

LinkedIn

Best IR for an IPO

What the investment community says
‘LinkedIn’s financial reporting practices are best in class, making for a smooth IPO process.’

What the company says
‘Consistent with everything we do in IR is trying to target and appeal to investors that take a very long-term approach to their portfolios.’ – Matt Sonefeldt, head of IR

Bina Thompson
Colgate-Palmolive

Lifetime achievement in IR

What the investment community says
‘Bina sets the standard when it comes to IR. She anticipates what folks will be interested in, she knows Colgate and its markets inside and out, and her accessibility to investors and analysts is second to none.’

What the company says
‘Colgate people, as well as Colgate shareholders, owe Bina a tremendous debt. For more than 20 years, she has helped investors and analysts understand our global business, our strategy and our results.’ – Ian Cook, chief executive

Shire

Best IR by a European company in the US market

What the investment community says
‘First, it has good depth and detail in its financials and presentations. Second, both the senior management and the IR people are accessible. Third, all of them understand their industry and are happy to take my call.’

What the company says
‘We are very good at building relationships with our analysts and shareholders.’ – Eric Rojas, global head of IR

Steve Madden

Best IR by a CEO or chairman (small cap)

What the investment community says
‘The chief executive at Steve Madden is responsible for communications with the Street and explains the company’s position in relation to the competition, as well as his long-term strategy for growth.’

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