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Aug 26, 2020

Wednesday Winner: The difference between guidance and expectation management

In the latest installment of our socially distanced video series, Cole Lannum shares his communications advice for Covid-19 uncertainty

Cole Lannum is the only IR professional to win five consecutive awards for best investor relations officer in IR Magazine history.

He picked up the awards between 2011 and 2015, while the company he worked for – Covidien – also won the award for best overall investor relations (large cap) in each of those years.

Lannum has enjoyed roles at Mallinckrodt, Tyco and his current company Zimmer Biomet, as well as starting his career with roles in the investment community.

In this video, Lannum discusses the difference between stating formal guidance and managing the expectations of the Street. With so many companies suspending guidance in March, April and May, Lannum acknowledges that many will not yet feel comfortable restating guidance, but says the IR teams can find other ways to set and manage expectations.

He also acknowledges that it’s not easy, especially when it comes to managing relationships with senior management. Many CEOs have built their brands by communicating clearly and with certainty, but Lannum says this may not be possible for every executive given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Covid-19.

This is the ninth episode in our socially distanced video series, where we profile award winners from around the world. If there’s a particular award winner or award category you would like to see profiled, please email



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...