NIRI 2019: IRO as chief intelligence officer
This year marks the 50th anniversary of NIRI – a milestone that was emphasized throughout the national conference held earlier this month in Phoenix, Arizona.
As the association looked ahead to the next 50 years, it wanted to reflect on how the role of IR has changed and think about how it may evolve further. NIRI brought together a select group of its members to put together a white paper on the future of IR – chaired by Lynn Tyson, executive director of investor relations at Ford Motor Company, and vice-chaired by Smooch Repovich Reynolds, managing partner of the global investor relations and chief communications officer practice at ZRG Partners.
Speaking to IR Magazine at the annual conference, Gary LaBranche, NIRI’s president and CEO, said: ‘The report talks about the emergence of artificial intelligence and the changing nature of the IR profession, as it changed from a field that started in public relations and is now deeply rooted in finance. [The white paper talks about] the idea that IR professionals are strategic leaders of multidisciplinary teams within an organization – IR is not a solo sport, but a team sport. That places a whole new set of skills in front of IR professionals, especially if they want to become trusted strategic advisers.’
A phrase that was used on several occasions during the annual conference – including during its own dedicated panel, that outgoing NIRI board chair Lee Ahlstrom participated in – was the chief intelligence officer. Several speakers suggested that this could be an aspirational job title for IR professionals to strive toward.
The NIRI leadership was also keen to celebrate the first 50 years of the association, and this was never more apparent than through the presence of Dick Morrill, who attended at the ripe old age of 97.
‘It was such a joy to have Dick here,’ LaBranche said. ‘He was one of the original nine founders, contributing $200 to a start-up fund for NIRI. He signed the constitution, was vice president of the first board and chaired the first national conference. He was a key player in the formation of NIRI 50 years ago… He’s a legendary IR professional.’
Click here to watch the full video interview with LaBranche, where he discusses the NIRI think tank further, and highlights NIRI’s 40 Under 40 list.