Video: Lou Thompson tribute
Lou Thompson, the CEO of NIRI from 1982 to 2006, died in March, aged 77. In this video excerpt from the IR Magazine Awards in New York on March 31, Doug Wilburne, vice president of IR at Textron and a former NIRI chairman, and Jim Cudahy, the current CEO of NIRI, pay their respects to a leader who shaped the investor relations profession while sharing his warmth and friendship with generations of IROs.
Text of Wilburne’s tribute to Thompson:
Good evening. Tonight’s event is a celebration of excellence – a happy event, always wonderfully orchestrated by Ian and the magnificent IR Magazine team with high tech AV and bright lights.
But last week, we lost perhaps the brightest light to ever shine on our profession, our friend, Lou Thompson.
I met Lou at my first NIRI Annual Conference in 1996 on the beach in Naples, Florida. He extended his hand, introduced himself and proceeded to make me feel welcome and very excited to be starting a career in investor relations. And every subsequent interaction with Lou was exactly the same, always making me feel absolutely part of the organization and, even more importantly, highly valued.
That was who Lou was - very much a man of inclusion. He loved people and he loved this profession, which he nurtured and developed from a tiny organization of several hundred to the thousands of people who now comprise NIRI and our profession.
Lou was CEO of NIRI from 1982 until 2006. During those 25 years, his influence on the growth and importance of our profession, as well as how we do our very jobs to this day, has been well documented and recognized. In fact, exactly 16 years ago at this event, Lou received IR Magazine’s first ever Lifetime Achievement Award.
I spoke earlier this week with Dick Morrill, one of the original founders of NIRI, about Lou’s indelible influence on the role of investor relations in our modern capital markets. And what about that role? In Dick’s amazing way of saying things, “IR is the apostle of full, fair, continuous, complete and timely communication with investors. It represents the conscience of the company.”
Yes, investor relations is a commendable, respected profession – and this is very much so in large part thanks to Lou’s towering passion and leadership.
So, because we knew Lou as a lover of people and fun times, instead of a moment of silence, I ask you to please join me in a spirited round of applause to honor the ultimate apostle of investor relations, our mentor and our friend, Lou Thompson.