10 Jul. 2019 | Comments (0)
Investor relations executives or officers (IROs) are slowly starting to move on to public company boards and into the C-suite, according to Gary LaBranche, president and CEO of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI).
“We are starting to see more IROs moving into board positions once they retire,” LaBranche said following a June 10 roundtable NIRI co-sponsored with The Conference Board on the job description of a corporate director. “It’s a natural fit, as there is movement toward more diversity on boards. Most of our members are female and they have expertise in capital markets, which is good for boards.”
LaBranche also sees the possibility of the IRO position being elevated to the C-suite at some companies. “The IRO often has high visibility to the board,” he said. “In fact, some value investor relations enough that they think companies could create a C-level position for IROs. But what I have discovered is that younger and smaller companies are less likely to go with a CIRO while larger companies tend to have more high-level IROs.”
Based on one company sharing its board-level investor relations committee charter at the roundtable, LaBranche said NIRI is thinking about issuing a policy statement that would suggest public companies create such a committee for the board. (More details on that charter will be shared in the next installment of the Job Description of a Corporate Director series due out in the fall.)
The roundtable was the latest in a series The Conference Board ESG Center (formerly the Governance Center) has held over the past two and a half years that featured investor relations executives, directors, governance professionals, and senior fellows of The Conference Board. Past roundtables and reports have focused on such stakeholders as directors, proxy advisors, passive and active investors, activist hedge funds, Delaware bench and bar, academia, corporate secretaries, the business media, and independent auditors.
A report based on the June 10 roundtable will be published in September 2019. If you are a member of The Conference Board, you can access all the Job Description reports here.