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Sep 28, 2017

Women in IR: BNY Mellon’s Haertel talks investor’s diversity focus

In part three of IR Magazine’s video series, Valerie Haertel, global head of investor relations at BNY Mellon, discusses how investors in the US are catching up to their European counterparts in focusing on the business benefits of gender diversity

The IR profession should reflect the diversity US investors increasingly want to see in leadership positions at public companies, according to Valerie Haertel, global head of investor relations at BNY Mellon.

Speaking to IR Magazine as part of its women in IR video campaign, Haertel says investor scrutiny on BNY Mellon’s board composition has become more widespread and has prompted the company to act. The company last year appointed three women – Jennifer Morgan, Elizabeth Robinson and Linda Cook – to its previously all-male board.

‘There are lots of facts to back up the fact that more diverse companies and companies with gender diversity actually perform better,’ Haertel says. ‘We’re now dealing with more fact-based decision making and pressure in many cases from investors to ensure that boards recognize the value of diversity.’ 



Haertel, who is currently serving as chair of NIRI, says that ‘IR absolutely needs to practice what it preaches’ in terms of gender diversity.

She says she was encouraged to hear there is an almost 50/50 mix of men and women in the IR profession as a whole, but she was ‘saddened’ to hear that a gender gap opens up in the more senior IR positions.

‘Clearly there’s a lot more work to be done,’ she says. ‘The issue has been raised, we’re having a conversation about it and that is the first step towards making progress.’

In the full video interview, Haertel discusses the best advice she has received from her mentors, the advice she has for young women in IR and the importance of IR associations for both knowledge-building and networking.

Click here to view the women in IR video series and subscribe to the playlist to be notified when new videos are released.

Ben Ashwell

Ben Ashwell was the editor at IR Magazine and Corporate Secretary , covering investor relations, governance, risk and compliance. Prior to this, he was the founder and editor of Executive Talent , the global quarterly magazine from the Association of...