Jeff Chastain, a veteran of the US energy sector, talks about how he got into IR
When the chance of an investor relations role first came up, Jeff Chastain admits he ‘had no clue’ what the profession was about. After getting a primer on the role, however, he decided it would make a nice change and took the job, setting in motion an IR career that has lasted 21 years so far.
‘I saw it as an opportunity to take something I really enjoyed and apply it to my own department’ – Jeff Chastain
After completing his degree, Chastain spent a few years working at Fidelity, although he didn’t get involved in any stock buying decisions. Rather, he did back office work at a division the firm had opened just outside Dallas, where Chastain grew up. From there, he moved to Halliburton, where he took a job in financial reporting. ‘It started out as an analyst role, helping to prepare the quarterly filings and doing some analysis on competitive data and things like that,’ he explains.
After two years at Halliburton, news came through that the vice president of IR was looking for help. ‘He was being pretty well taxed with his time, and with inquiries from analysts and institutional investors,’ says Chastain.
‘I got a little rundown on what he does, and what I would be required to do, and thought, Sure, it seems like an interesting change of pace for me, which is about all I saw it as at the time.’
Chastain quickly took to the role, however. ‘The vice president would have me sitting in with him on meetings with analysts and institutional investors,’ recounts Chastain. ‘Eventually, I began returning calls to analysts as I got more of a grip on the Halliburton story and what the analysts most often asked about – and I really enjoyed doing that.’
Chastain’s passion and aptitude for IR quickly became clear not just to him, but also to the analysts covering Halliburton – a fact that opened up his next opportunity. An IR role came up when Sonat, a former member of the Fortune 500, decided to spin off its offshore drilling business (the precursor to what would become Transocean). An analyst called Gordon Hall heard about the position, and recommended Halliburton’s new investor relations guy.
Chastain took the job, although it wasn’t an easy decision. ‘I’d grown up in Dallas, I was really not interested in leaving Dallas,’ he says. ‘But I saw it as a great opportunity to take something I had learned to really enjoy and apply that in my own department.’
There is a twist to the story, too. Hall now sits on the board at Noble Corp, where Chastain works today as vice president of IR. ‘So that kind of brought things full circle,’ Chastain observes. ‘And that’s really the amazing part of how things sometimes work out in one’s professional career.’
|IR roll call
2011-present: Vice president of IR, Noble Corp
2007-2011: Vice president of IR and communications, Pride International
1994-2007: Vice president of IR, Transocean
1992-1994: IR manager, Halliburton