NIRI elects board chair for 2018

Oct 19, 2017
Lee Ahlstrom will take over from Valerie Haertel at NIRI’s AGM on November 29, 2017

Lee Ahlstrom, chief financial officer at Paragon Offshore, will serve as the next chair of NIRI’s national board, succeeding Valerie Haertel, global head of investor relations for BNY Mellon.

Ahlstrom has served on the NIRI board since 2015, chaired the professional development committee and co-chaired the 2016 annual conference. He was part of the second class of Investor Relations Charter holders and has also held a range of board positions in the NIRI Houston chapter.

He has worked at Paragon Offshore since the company’s founding in 2014. He served as senior vice president of IR, strategy and planning until November 2016, when he stepped in as the company’s interim CFO. That move was made permanent in August 2017. He has previously held senior IR roles at Noble Corporation, Burlington Resources and Unocal Corporation and, earlier in his career, worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Co and an engineer at Exxon.

‘I am both thrilled and humbled to have been elected next year’s board chair,’ Ahlstrom says in a statement on NIRI’s website. ‘As our profession continues to evolve, I believe NIRI membership has never been more beneficial.’

Ahlstrom also praised the ‘tireless, focused and collaborative leadership’ Haertel has displayed during her tenure as NIRI chair. She played an influential role this year during NIRI’s leadership transition, resulting in Gary LaBranche’s appointment as CEO, a subject Haertel talked to IR Magazine about in a recent video interview.

The board voted in favor of a new bylaw to ensure leadership continuity, meaning Haertel will serve on the NIRI board for one more year.

‘Lee [Ahlstrom] is a thoughtful and engaged board member with a passion for our profession,’ Haertel says. ‘I cannot think of a better-qualified individual to lead and further strengthen our organization as our strategy and our membership evolves to better serve our chapter and all of our members… I look forward to continuing to support the board, our new CEO and our members as we seek to unveil our new One NIRI strategy.’

In another governance change, the board elected Ronald Parham as chair-elect for 2018, in which capacity he will work closely with Ahlstrom and serve as a liaison to the annual conference committee. Parham is currently senior director of IR and corporate communications at Columbia Sportswear.

Parham has been a member of NIRI since 1988 and was elected to the national board in 2016, where he also serves as chair of the advocacy committee. He has served in leadership positions in NIRI’s Portland and virtual chapters.

Parham is ‘honored to be NIRI’s 2018 chair-elect,’ according to a statement.

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