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Aug 09, 2010

Heffter set to join Celesio as new head of IR

Former Siemens IR manager says he learnt his trade under celebrated IRO Marcus Desimoni

On September 1, Frank Heffter will join Celesio, the Stuttgart-based healthcare service provider, as the company's new head of IR. He moves from industrials group Oerlikon, where he held the same position.

Before his time at Oerlikon, Heffter was an IR manager at Siemens, where he worked under award-winning head of IR Marcus Desimoni. Heffter says this was an important stage in his career development: ‘Marcus is very well known in the industry and was kind of my teacher,’ he explains. ‘He showed me what one can do in the IR department; the move to Oerlikon was then to run the show myself.’

Desimoni was named by Thomson Reuters’ Extel Awards as one of the best IR officers in Europe for four years in a row, from 2003 to 2007.

Heffter says he took the job at Celesio because it offers him the chance to work at a much larger company with a better-resourced investor relations department. At Oerlikon, he worked with one other person and was able to draft in assistance for certain projects; at Celesio, he will lead a team of six.

‘Celesio is a company that has the potential to really play in the premier league,’ he explains. ‘It is listed on the MDAX, the second-biggest index group in Germany, but it has the potential to get into the DAX among the top 30 companies in the country.’

Celesio is as large as many current DAX members, but it has an anchor shareholder who controls 54 percent of the shares, notes Heffter. As a result, the free float is not big enough to get the company into the DAX.

Heffter says the IR function at Celesio is very well developed, but he still has some ideas for improvement. In particular, he is targeting internal communications between the IR team and senior management. ‘Right now, 90 percent of the activities are focused on communications with the investment community, like the annual report, roadshows and conferences,’ he explains, ‘but intelligence from the capital markets is not being used by the company as much as it could be.’