30 IR stars in 30 days: Karl Mahler of Roche

Dec 18, 2018
To celebrate 30 years of IR Magazine, our series highlights the achievements of 30 IR stars from the last three decades

IR Magazine has a long history of honoring those men, women and companies around the world that excel at investor relations. In celebration of 30 years of IR Magazine, we selected 30 IR stars that have shone particularly brightly over the past three decades and will be posting one profile each day for 30 days, giving you the gift of an IR advent calendar. 

Karl Mahler, head of IR at Roche, kicked off his career in 1987 but switched between finance and pharma roles before finding his calling in IR. Mahler has headed up the IR function at Roche for almost 16 years, during which time the company has been nominated for more than 20 IR Magazine Awards and has taken home a good number. 

So what’s the secret to the company’s success? Talking ESG at the IR Magazine Global Forum in Amsterdam in October, Mahler commented that Roche, which was founded in 1896, almost has long-term thinking built into its DNA. 

But perhaps part of the company’s longevity – and Mahler’s IR accolades – is not only its long-term view but also its ability to adapt to change. 

During his lengthy career, Mahler says two major changes have affected the role: the first is an overall increase in liquidity, ‘which has led to much more volatility in the market’; the second is only now starting to have an impact but has created a lot of change on the sell side due to a fundamental shift in the business model: Mifid II. ‘Each of these have changed the way in which we had to work and interact with the market,’ Mahler says. ‘It has become much busier, with more frequent market contacts and higher volatility, which we have to actively manage.’

Specifically to pharma companies, Mahler adds that ‘the shorter competition cycles and political landscape have led to even more volatile reactions in the market, which we also need to manage.’ 

Stay tuned for more IR stars this week and pick up a copy of the winter issue of IR Magazine to see the full list.

A version of this article was published in the winter 2018 issue of IR Magazinethe 30th anniversary issue of the industry’s premier publication.

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