MasterCard’s Barbara Gasper with two indispensable pieces of advice for all IROs

May 06, 2014
<p>Video interview from the red carpet at the IR Magazine Awards - US 2014</p>

The award for Lifetime Achievement in Investor Relations is presented by IR Magazine after consulting with leading lights of the IR community, past and present, including many former winners. This year’s winner, Barbara Gasper, enjoys deep respect, loyalty and genuine warmth from both the investment community and IR community peers, from senior executives whom she works with and team members alike. 

Gasper brings more than 30 years’ experience in IR and finance to her position as executive vice president of investor relations for MasterCard, which she joined in advance of its 2006 IPO. 

Her career started out with more than 20 years spent at Lukens, in both engineering and finance roles, finishing up as treasurer. She went on to tackle investor relations at Raytheon, Lucent Technologies, PwC and finally Ford Motor Company before going to MasterCard.

‘Barbara has been a true pioneer,’ remarks Len Griehs, Campbell Soup’s retired head of IR. ‘From the trenches of Philadelphia to the first female officer at Ford Motor, Barbara set an example of  investor relations as the spark plug of the organization.’ 

Griehs adds that Gasper’s leadership within NIRI and the Investor Relations Association, including serving on NIRI’s national board and as a member of NIRI’s Senior Roundtable, has helped a great many individuals to forge new ground in their IR careers. 

In this video interview, Gasper talks about how she was able to switch between dramatically different industries during her career as an IRO. She also talks about the challenges MasterCard faced making the transition from a private company to a public one. Finally, in an excerpt from her acceptance speech, she gives two vital nuggets of counsel to fellow investor relations professionals. 

‘Through investor days and meetings and earnings calls, Barbara keeps a sense of humor and balance while being very, very focused on our investor community. She understands them, cares about their opinions, works really hard at preparing herself and our team for these meetings, and is, above all, a consummate professional. She is delightful!’ – Ajay Banga, CEO, MasterCard

‘Working with Barbara at Lucent and at MasterCard in her capacity as the head of IR is a delight. Of course she has an unbelievable command of her subject matter area, she is highly analytical, and in her straightforward manner calls out any issue “as it is”. But most importantly she is one person in the company who is able to gather the right information from many different areas, assemble it in an organized manner so that we are able to present the facts not only to the investor community in a concise and simple way but also use it for many other purposes internally and externally. While she is surely known to be a tough cookie given her drive on speed and accuracy, she is recognized as a real team player and deeply cares about the development of people, all of which has been instrumental in MasterCard’s endeavor to change the business culture after the IPO in 2006. Congratulations to Barbara for this significant award from all of us at MasterCard!!’ – Martina Hund-Mejean, CFO, MasterCard

‘Barbara helped propel our company, literally overnight, from a not-for-profit association to an admired public company. Without her, we could not have navigated this difficult transition, and earned the respect we have gained with the investment community. On top of all that, she has kept her great sense of humor after dealing with all those pesky analyst questions over the years.’ – Chris McWilton, MasterCard’s president, North America and CFO at the time of the 2006 IPO

‘Barbara epitomizes all the characteristics of a great IRO: a strong communicator who thinks strategically, long-term focused, and an excellent collaborator both in her job and within the IR profession.’ – Mark Aaron, vice president of IR, Tiffany & Co

‘Barbara is the best IR executive I have worked with in my 14 years as a sell-side equity research analyst. I value her as a highly ethical, fair, responsive and knowledgeable executive.’ – Tien-tsin Huang, senior analyst, JP Morgan

Past winners:
2000 Lou Thompson
2001 Debbie Kelly
2002 Larry Bishop
2003 Carol Murray-Negron
2004 Mark Aaron
2005 Sue Nunn
2006 Len Griehs
2007 Dick Morrill
2008 Art Rivel
2009 Marty Shea
2010 Kay Breakstone and Carol Ruth (joint award)
2011 Mickey Foster
2012 Bina Thompson
2013 Mary Beth Kissane

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