The IR Society Annual Conference and Festival of IR 2021

Save the Date! Monday 14 - Friday 18 June 2021

Save the Date! Monday 14 - Friday 18 June 2021

Conference overview


More than a virtual event. More than just an online conference. The Festival of IR is a five-day programme of seminars, panel discussions, roundtables and networking with practical content for IR professionals at every level of their career.
Alongside our usual plenary sessions and keynotes, the Festival of IR will also include a range of sessions provided by the IR Society and its member companies to ensure the event really does provide something to engage the whole IR community.

The Festival of IR will run from Monday 14 – Friday 18 June, with sessions every day, and with the main plenary sessions all taking place on the afternoon of Thursday 17 June from 12:30pm. Pre-recorded keynote interviews will also be available on the platform in advance of the plenary sessions.

The main theme of the 2021 event will be IR and the purpose-driven business. The Covid-impacted environment has accelerated the need for companies to have a clear vision of their purpose and sometimes to revisit and potentially adjust it. Purpose revolves around ensuring sustainable future performance as well as corporate raison d’etre. Whilst the past year has been a testing one for all, companies now must learn from that experience and invest to drive growth, whilst building business resilience for an uncertain future environment. This year’s event will take a look at the challenges and opportunities companies face including the growing impact of ESG in all its dimensions. The plenary sessions will address all of these themes, from the ‘big-picture’ trends, real world examples of purpose in action and investor perspectives, through to hands on advice for IR practitioners as their roles continue to evolve.

With prices held at 2020 levels this additional content comes at no additional price. You can book your tickets here.

We are inviting sponsors to run sessions (topic and format to be agreed with the IR Society) as part of the festival and these can be both practical as well as thought-leadership based. To find out more, or to enquire about our full range of sponsorship opportunities, please contact

“Overall a great day with good topics and speakers. The venue works well and the organisation was excellent!”

Conference Delegate


Highlights from the 2019 and 2018 conferences plus the Diploma in IR

Highlights from the 2020 conference keynote interviews

Highlights from the 2019 conference: IR: Leading Change; Driving Value

Introduction to the Diploma in IR


The full agenda for the IR Society Virtual Annual Conference 2021 and details of the on demand content that will be available both before and after the live event is coming soon

Conference Keynote Moderator

  • Evan Davis, journalist and broadcaster

    Evan Davis Evan Davis is the presenter of the Radio 4 daily news and current affairs show PM. He is also the host of Dragons Den and the Radio 4 business discussion programme the Bottom Line. Until November 2018, he presented Newsnight on BBC2. And prior to that he he was a presenter of the Today programme on BBC Radio 4. He also spent seven years as the Economics Editor of the BBC. Before joining the BBC in 1993, he was an economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and at the London Business School.   Evan's latest book is called Post Truth: Why we have reached Peak Bullshit and what we can do about it.

Keynote Speakers

  • Bernard Looney, Chief Executive Officer

    Bernard Looney Bernard Looney was appointed chief executive officer in February 2020. He previously ran bp’s Upstream business from April 2016 and has been a member of the company’s executive management team since November 2010. As chief executive, Upstream, Bernard was responsible for bp’s oil and gas exploration, development and production activities worldwide. The Upstream segment included some 17,000 people operating across almost 30 countries producing around 2.6 million barrels equivalent of oil and gas a day. In this role, Bernard oversaw improvements in both process and personal safety performances and production grew by 20%. There were also significant improvements in both gender and global diversity. Bernard initiated a group-wide dialogue on mental health in hope of ‘ending the stigma’ associated with the issue – a subject he remains passionate about today. He led access into new countries, high-graded the portfolio and created innovative new business models. Bernard also encouraged bp to lead on methane detection methods as well as driving sustainable emissions reductions of almost 3 million tonnes CO2 equivalent over two years. In earlier Upstream executive roles, he was responsible for all bp-operated oil and gas production worldwide and for all bp’s drilling and major project activity. He led the creation of central drilling and projects functions following the Deepwater Horizon accident. Bernard joined bp in 1991 as a drilling engineer and worked in operational roles in the North Sea, Vietnam and the Gulf of Mexico, including as drilling engineer on the discovery of the giant Thunder

  • Sir Anthony Habgood, Chairman, Preqin Holding Ltd

    Sir Anthony Habgood Anthony is Chairman of Preqin Holding Ltd since 2011 and Deputy Chairman of R G Carter Holdings since 2018. He was Chairman of RELX plc (2009 – 2021), the Court of the Bank of England 2014-18, Norwich Research Partners LLP 2013-2016, Whitbread Plc 2005-2014, Mölnlycke Health Care Ltd 2006-2007 and Bunzl PLC 1996-2009. A graduate in economics from Cambridge University with an MS in Industrial Administration from Carnegie Mellon University, he joined Boston Consulting Group in 1970 and became a Director in 1977. Having worked in Boston, Tokyo, Munich and London he became Managing Partner of BCG Ltd in London and a member of the Executive Committee of BCG Inc from 1981-1986. He joined Tootal Group plc in 1986 becoming Chief Executive in 1991. He was Chief Executive of Bunzl plc 1991-1996 subsequently becoming Chairman. Past non-executive directorships include Geest plc, NatWest Bank plc, Powergen plc, Marks and Spencer plc, SVG Capital plc and the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital Foundation Trust. In 2006 he was the winner of the Daily Telegraph Award for a Decade of Business Excellence at the National Business Awards. He is also a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University and holds an honorary Doctorate in Civil Law from the University of East Anglia.


Plenary session 1 - IR and the purpose-driven business

A first big picture session to set the scene and address the conference theme – IR and the purpose-driven business. Our panel of senior industry and markets participants will discuss how business and the broader economic system is having to evolve in order to meet the demands of all stakeholders and how this is likely to influence shareholder returns and macroeconomic out-turns, including how we measure and assess these variables. They will additionally discuss how events in the past year and the unprecedented political and societal responses have led to governance and environmental trends that are likely to have an enduring influence on financial markets and company issuers in the years ahead.

  • Ed Humpherson, Director General for Regulation, Office for Statistics Regulation, UK Statistics Authority

    Ed Humpherson Ed Humpherson was appointed as Director General for Regulation in October 2013 and took up post in January 2014. He is head of the Office for Statistics Regulation which provides independent regulation of all official statistics in the UK. The aim of OSR is to enhance public confidence in the trustworthiness, quality and value of statistics produced by government. Prior to joining the Authority, Ed was a Board Member and Executive Leader for Economic Affairs at the National Audit Office, a post he held since July 2009. This role included responsibility for the overall strategic direction of NAO’s work on economic affairs. Ed Humpherson was educated at the University of Edinburgh. Ed is a Chartered Accountant and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.


Plenary session 2 - Adjusting IR strategy to build corporate resilience

The COVID-19 crisis has intensified existing disclosure trends, particularly around purpose and culture, and many companies have had to adjust rapidly. This has caused many to revisit their purpose as they hurried to demonstrate business resilience and now seek to drive sustainable growth, ultimately building resilience for the future. This panel session, featuring IROs drawn from a variety of sectors and company sizes, will address the challenges, risks and opportunities faced by companies and how the IR function has had to pivot to, not only communicating a roadmap out of Covid, but continuing growth and the degree to which ESG has played a role in helping or hindering their efforts. With the sharing of experience, this session will aim to provide practical advice as companies adjust to a post-Covid world and the considerations along the way.

  • Moderator: Douglas Radcliffe, Group Investor Relations Director, Lloyds Banking Group

    Moderator: Douglas Radcliffe Douglas currently heads up the Investor Relations team at Lloyds Banking Group having been a senior member of the team at Lloyds Bank and subsequently Lloyds Banking Group for the last seven years. During this time he has been involved in all the normal Investor Relations activities including the development of the investment proposition, briefing of institutional investors and the development and production of corporate results and announcements. In addition he has been integrally involved in all the corporate actions and transactions undertaken by the Group during this period including the acquisition of HBOS, the capital raisings and the various business disposals. Prior to joining the Investor Relations team Douglas held management positions within Group Strategy, Group Risk and Private Banking having initially joined Lloyds Bank on the graduate development programme.

  • Holly Gillis, Head of Investor Relations, Go-Ahead

    Bio and photo to follow.

  • Jack Gorman, Head of Investor Relations, Greencore

    Jack Gorman Jack joined Greencore in May 2017. He established investor relations as a separate function at Greencore for the first time, working closely with the Group Executive team and the business to develop and communicate the equity story for the investment community. As well as developing and engaging IR strategies and communication for a multitude of capital market events, Jack has helped to develop and promote the Group’s ESG communication and engagement strategy launched in 2020, and he sits on the Group's Sustainability Steering Committee. Prior to joining Greencore, Jack spent over 20 years as a sell-side equity analyst at Davy in Dublin, specialising in European food ingredients research. Jack holds a B.Comm from University College Dublin.


Plenary Session 3 – Aligning purpose and the investor community response

This panel of buy-side and sell-side participants will convene to build on and respond to themes developed from the previous IRO session. With a mixed panel of views, this session aims to challenge current thinking and opinion, as well guide IR professionals on investor expectations and how they can prioritise their disclosure to demonstrate purpose-led reporting.


Plenary Session 4 – Climate risk – understanding the disclosure challenges

As pressures mount for businesses to address climate change as a strategic consideration, there is increased urgency for companies to communicate their own plans as well as own their ‘climate’ story. Panel participants will share their views on how companies are working towards plans, the key elements for companies to consider around climate disclosure, and how IR can influence the agenda to ensure this important topic is addressed at all levels, both internally and externally.


8 Apr

IR Society

We're very pleased to announce that Sir Anthony Habgood will be joining us as a keynote speakers at our 2021 Annual……

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Complete the form below to book online, or call the IR Society on +44 (0) 20 7379 1763

IR Society Members Rate - £150 + VAT

Non-members Rate - £200 + VAT

Other IR Society Members Rate - £150 + VAT

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All bookings must be paid for at the time of registration. Confirmation of your delegate place will only be made on receipt of payment. Cancellation: full refund subject to 5% administration charge 14 days prior to event date; no refund thereafter.