Obituary: Ernie Sando
Ernest ‘Ernie’ Sando, 64, a well-known figure in the IR world, died on October 31, 2014. He is survived by his partner of 23 years, Carl Grimm. Born in Hazelton, PA in 1950, Sando graduated from Hazleton High School in 1968 and earned a degree in political science from Mansfield College, PA.
Sando’s IR career can probably be traced back to his time with stockbroker Johnston Lemon & Co, after which he joined Georgeson in New York where he was vice president of investor relations from 1979 to 1982. After that he moved in-house, becoming director of investor relations and corporate communications at Flexi-Van Corp. He moved to DF King and then back to Georgeson in 1987 as senior managing director and a member of the board of directors.
‘I first had the pleasure of meeting Ernie Sando in May 1981,’ recalls Bill Crane, who went on to become Georgeson’s chairman. ‘At the time we were both recent hires. Ernie was an account executive in the IR division and I had just joined the proxy department. We quickly developed a close working relationship assisting many of the firm’s largest clients. As the years progressed Ernie rose to senior managing director of the IR division and became a member of the Georgeson board of directors. I had the honor of serving on the board with him for 10 years.
‘Ernie was also responsible for recruiting and mentoring many of our most talented employees, and many of those individuals are leaders in the IR industry today. It was a pleasure to work with him for more than 20 years and all of us will have very fond memories of those times together.’
Morgan Molthrop, another of Sando’s former colleagues, says: ‘At Georgeson, where Ernie spent the lion’s share of his career, he was a communications guru for an enviable list of Fortune 500 companies including Ford, Mattel, Disney and Starwood. He was a consultant for some of the most important mergers and acquisitions on Wall Street during the 1980s and 1990s. He lent his expertise in several takeover battles, crafting campaigns that would influence shareholders and key decision makers. He was a valued consultant to CEOs and CFOs internationally, with a list that included UK, Australian and Spanish clients. As a boss, he fostered the careers of some of the most important people in the IR field today.
‘During this time, the investor relations profession changed from a mid-level extension of marketing and public relations to a hybrid that included exemplary communications based on solid analytical data and ethical disclosure practice. Ernie was a leader in advancing the profession. Partly as a result of his example and effort, investor relations practitioners today are considered among the most important people on ‘executive row’.’
In 2000 Sando accepted a position with Hill + Knowlton as the firm’s US director of financial communications and senior managing director. He was also active during his IR career with NIRI, where he was a member of the board, as well as with the New York Financial Communications Society. In 2003 he and Grimm retired to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware where they formed C&E Partners and purchased Bayberry, a flower shop and event business.
Sando was a loyal, generous friend, with a terrific sense of humor. He was also a true gentleman who will be much missed, not least by Janet Dignan and Ian Richman, the founders of IR Magazine.