Xtep’s rising star on proving her worth in IR
Mini-profile taken from the Award-Winning IR – Asia 2017 report details how Leah Liu from Xtep International took home the rising star award at the IR Magazine Awards – Greater China 2017
When Leah Liu joined sportswear firm Xtep International as director of investor relations in 2015, she had a lot to prove. She had experience in investment banking and capital markets but not IR, she was around 10 years younger than most people at director level at the firm and ‘the board was not used to seeing a female IR head because the IR team was formerly led by the CFO’.
And between the external investment community and internal stakeholders, Liu says establishing her credibility internally was the more challenging. ‘I had to prove myself to earn their trust,’ she explains. ‘My immediate objectives were to educate my colleagues on the importance of IR to company value’ and to bring other factions together to work with the IR team.
She also got to work implementing a number of changes within the IR program, from a restructuring of presentation materials to the building of a new database to streamline Xtep’s targeting process. Liu also worked on the way the IR team itself is run. ‘I streamlined the entire IR team structure,’ she says, creating dedicated liaisons within each department, using external PR agencies to communicate with retail investors and strengthening the internal IR team to better serve institutional investors. The result, says Liu, is an increase in the ‘transparency, accuracy and timeliness of information provided to the investment community.’
All this has given Liu the opportunity to be involved in the strategic decision-making of the company and made her a hit with the investment community – and the senior management she worked so hard to win over.