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

THE IR SOCIETY’S 2021 ANNUAL CONFERENCE AND FESTIVAL OF IR - A NEW APPROACH FOR THE IR COMMUNITY

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 robert.dann@irsociety.org.uk.

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

Conference Delegate

Videos

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

Programme

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 Interviewer

  • 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 Interviews

  • Bernard Looney, Chief Executive Officer, BP

    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 Horse field. After a period in bp Alaska, he became head of the group CEO's office, working directly for bp CEO’s Lord Browne and then Tony Hayward.

  • 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.

Monday 14 June - Festival of IR

Tuesday 15 June - Festival of IR

14:30-15:30

The ESG language of global capital markets - Rivel

Please join us for an overview of the current and future state of ESG disclosures for global capital markets and practical guidance on where and how to start and evolve effective ESG communications. Comparability and specificity of decision useful ESG disclosures is an ongoing concern of global capital markets and regulators. The push for standardisation has a long list of challenges, especially for multi-national companies. The language of ESG is evolving as quickly as the science behind it and societal expectations, and Investor Relations is charged with finding effective and manageable ways to incorporate this information into ongoing investor dialogue and existing company reporting. Many investors view ESG factors as necessary information which can aid them in making more informed investment decisions that contribute to the pursuit of alpha and accurately calculating risk-adjusted returns. What are your investors looking for? How can IR embrace the “ESG premium” to valuation? What is the likely impact of increased global regulations?

  • Dave Bobker, Senior Vice President & Managing Director of Governance and Sustainability, Rivel

    Dave Bobker Dave leads the Governance and Sustainability division, responsible for the development and execution of the Corporate Governance Intelligence Council, Corporate Responsibility Advisory (ESG) and Board Evaluation services on both a national and international level. For over 20 years, Dave has provided governance and sustainability advisory services to hundreds of public companies. Dave has been on the forefront of analyzing investor perceptions and interpretation of proxy issues and ESG matters and is a recognized industry expert in the areas of corporate governance, ESG/sustainability, stakeholder engagement and disclosure. For Rivel Governance and Sustainability clients, Dave is the lead consultant for management teams and boards on all corporate governance, ESG, stakeholder engagement and disclosure matters. He is experienced and trained in all aspects of ESG, including SASB, TCFD, SDGs, GRI, and industry specific reporting standards and frameworks. Dave works closely with client through a variety of situations, corporate actions, annual and special meetings and has organized and led dozens of high-profile engagements. Dave consults with directors and counsel for the development and execution of custom board evaluations, including assessing the alignment of views on strategy, ERM and corporate culture. Dave is a Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Alliance Member and is active in the Society for Corporate Governance, for which he is a member of the Securities Law Committee, NIRI, and NACD. He regularly presents at local, regional and national events. Prior to joining Rivel, Dave held roles as Vice President at Georgeson, Senior Vice President at Laurel Hill Advisory Group, Senior Vice President at AST Phoenix Advisors, and Advisory Director at Argyle.

  • Claire Lavery, Executive Director, Europe & Asia, Rivel

    Claire Lavery Claire leads Rivel's business in the UK, Europe and Asia, responsible for growth and profitability in these regions. Being Rivel’s first recruit outside the US, Claire extended Rivel’s reputation across the Atlantic establishing its position as the leading global provider of perception research. With her experienced team, she continues to increase Rivel’s loyal client base across two continents. She is a consultant on client projects, providing in depth strategic analysis and presents insights and recommendations to senior management teams and boards of directors. Her experience spans a cross section of companies of varying market caps, industries and geographies. In addition to her role at Rivel, Claire is a Board Director of the UK’s IR Society, sitting on the Society’s Best Practice Committee and Conference Committee. She is also a regular guest speaker at investor relations events across Europe, sharing insights on buy-side expectations and IR best practices. Prior to joining Rivel, she was the International Sales Director at a leading investor relations publication. Before stepping into the world of investor relations, Claire spent 10 years in the legal market working closely with world-leading global law firms and the general counsel of the FTSE 100. She is based in Rivel’s London office.

  • Edward Packshaw, Sustainability Consultant, Rivel

    Bio to follow

  • Leah Rozin, Associate Director, Governance & Sustainability, Rivel

    Leah Rozin Leah brings over 10 years of corporate governance and sustainability experience and practical expertise. As an Associate Director, she advises on board reporting, stakeholder engagement, governance structures, third-party ratings, and helps guide clients to disclose strategically relevant ESG metrics. She is a Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting (FSA) Credential Level I holder. Prior to Rivel, she was the senior manager of Research at the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) focused on public and private company board education and research with a focus on ESG. Prior to joining NACD, she was Vice President at ISS Corporate Solutions (ICS) where she served as the principal advisor for the Sustainability Suite working with corporate clients across industries and market caps to improve disclosure practices and understanding of the ESG landscape. Leah also advised companies in the REIT, insurance, and consumer discretionary sectors on corporate governance and executive compensation. She joined ICS in 2015 from the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) where she specialized in investor perception studies and investor messaging, working with investor relations executives at mid- to mega-cap companies.

Wednesday 16 June - Festival of IR

14:30-15:30

Re-imagining the CMD - BRR Media

CMDs are a cornerstone of the IRO's long term communication strategy. The pandemic has forced a re-think on how to engage investors in a more virtual world. In this session, we share insights on how companies have adapted to, and indeed capitalised upon, the restrictions put in place on travel and in person gatherings to engage a wider potential audience using different techniques and strategies. You will hear from experts and senior IROs who have sought to redefine the CMD over the last year. Covering key strategies, planning considerations and technologies, we will highlight some great practical examples and show what good really looks like. The information will also help IROs to think about how they can harness the resources and tools available to deliver an event that keeps audience engagement high and achieves their strategic communication objectives. The format of this event will comprise a presentation, panel discussion, IRO interviews and live Q&A.

Thursday 17 June - IR and the Purpose-Driven Business

12:45-13:30

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.

  • Moderator: Gary Leibowitz, Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer, Unilever

    Moderator: Gary Leibowitz Gary Leibowitz is a seasoned global corporate strategy, finance and capital markets leader, with investment banking and private equity foundations and 20 years of leading CPG experience across the US, Europe, Latin America, Africa, China. He currently serves as Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer at Unilever plc. Mr. Leibowitz has extensive experience driving business growth and transformation agendas at corporate and divisional levels. As a CPG strategy leader, his focus is on directing and coaching leadership teams in strategic opportunity assessment, choice-making, alignment, planning and eliciting external capital market support. As Senior Advisor in McKinsey’s Global Consumer Practice, he led strategy, portfolio, route-to-market/distribution, turnaround and M&A engagements for a range of CPG clients spanning leading incumbents and agile disruptors. For over a decade, Mr. Leibowitz contributed the dynamic growth of SABMiller plc, a $100 billion global beverage group and FTSE-10 listed company. As Senior Vice President, Internal and Investor Engagement, he helped the company achieve and sustain a fundamental equity re-positioning and re-rating through economic cycles, CEO and board change, JVs and major M&A (hostile and agreed). Previously he originated and managed private equity investments in CPG at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and began his career in investment banking at Merrill Lynch & Co. Mr. Leibowitz previously served for eight years on the board of the UK Investor Relations Society and in 2017 was presented with the IR Society’s Fellowship Award.

  • Naina Dhingra, Partner, McKinsey

    Bio and photo to follow.

  • 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.

  • Vicky Pryce, Chief Economic Adviser and board member of Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR)

    Vicky Pryce Vicky Pryce is Chief Economic Adviser and a board member at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). She was previously Senior Managing Director at FTI Consulting, Director General for Economics at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Joint Head of the UK Government Economic Service. Before that she was Partner at the accounting and consulting firm KPMG after senior economic positions in banking and the oil sector. She has held a number of academic posts and is a Fellow and Council member of the UK Academy for Social Sciences, a Fellow of the Society of Professional Economists and a Companion of the British Academy of Management.. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the central banking think-tank OMFIF and of the Economic Advisory Group of the British Chambers of Commerce. She is also a Patron of the charities Pro-Bono Economics and Working Chance. Her books include: “Greekonomics: The Euro crisis and Why Politicians Don't Get It”; “It's the Economy, Stupid- Economics for Voters”, with Ross and Urwin; and “Redesigning Manufacturing”, with Nielsen and Beverland. “Her latest book, “Women vs Capitalism”, was published by Hurst in November 2019. She is co-founder of GoodCorporation, a company set up to advise on corporate social responsibility and is a Freeman and Liveryman of the City of London.

13:35-14:20

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

    Holly Gillis Holly Gillis is Head of Investor Relations at The Go-Ahead Group plc. She has over 15 years of experience in finance, corporate communications and investor relations roles in the UK public transport sector. Holly is an ACCA qualified accountant and has a Bsc in Psychology from Lancaster University.

  • 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.

  • Isabel Green, Head of Investor Relations, Rolls-Royce

    Isabel Green An experienced Investor Relations professional, Isabel Green has worked across multiple sectors and geographies over the last 20 years. Currently Head of Investor Relations at FTSE 100 listed Rolls-Royce PLC and with prior IR experience in Oil & Gas, Banking and Travel & Leisure, Isabel has a broad understanding of the numerous challenges that corporates and investors are grappling with in today’s market. Isabel also spent several years as a sellside analyst at UBS, covering mid-cap consumer companies where she developed a core competence building investment cases for a wide range of businesses and critiquing company narratives for the investor audience.

  • Thomas Kudsk Larsen, Head of Investor Relations, AstraZeneca

    Thomas Kudsk Larsen Bio to follow

14:50-15:35

Plenary Session 3 – Aligning purpose and the investor community response

The turbulent events of the global pandemic have brought business purpose into sharper focus and led to heightened investor expectations of corporates. This panel will convene to address how investors are responding to the changing regulatory environment and prioritising their stewardship actions. With a healthy mix of views amongst our panellists, this session aims to challenge current thinking and opinion, as well guide IR professionals on investor expectations and how they should be thinking about prioritising company disclosure to demonstrate purpose-led reporting.

  • Moderator: Paul Baker, Chairman of Corporate Broking, Morgan Stanley

    Moderator: Paul Baker Paul Baker founded Morgan Stanley’s Corporate Broking team in May 2004, after spending 7 years with Merrill Lynch (3 as Co-Head of Corporate Broking) and 11 with Natwest Wood Mackenzie. The Corporate Broking team now has over 40 clients, including 25 FTSE-100 clients. Paul has been giving equity advice to leading companies for over 30 years on every aspect of their market positioning, cultivation of their investor bases, their strategic development, M&A and equity fund raising. Clients include Compass, Diageo, Glencore, HSBC, Reckitt, Rolls Royce and S4. Paul has a Law degree from Oxford University.

  • Greg Taxin, MD, Spotlight Advisors

    Bio and photo to follow.

  • Ben Yeoh, Senior Portfolio Manager, RBC Investment Management

    Ben Yeoh Ben is a Senior Portfolio Manager in the RBC Global Equity team. The team is based in London, where they run actively-managed high-conviction, research-driven Global and U.S. equity strategies. They employ a robust and proven investment philosophy with an investment process that embeds Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) analysis and risk management. These factors lead to returns that are driven by stock picking with low correlations to the peer group.

  • Freddie Woolfe, Global Sustainable Equities, Jupiter Asset Management

    Bio and photo to follow.

15:40-16:25

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.

  • Moderator: Jessica Fries, Executive Chairman, Accounting for Sustainability, A4S

    Moderator: Jessica Fries Jessica Fries is Executive Chairman of The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S), established by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in 2004. She has led A4S since 2008, working with the finance community to catalyze a shift to a sustainable economy, with a focus on practical actions and targeted interventions capable of achieving global change. While at A4S, Jessica has been responsible for establishing the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), as well as A4S’s CFO Leadership Network and capital markets programme. Previously, Jessica held a number of roles at PwC advising a wide range of companies, governments, investors and not-for-profit organizations. Jessica has written extensively on ways to integrate sustainability into business and finance, and has been a member of a number of International, European and UK Government Committees, including the UK Treasury’s Sustainability Reporting Steering Committee, the European Commission’s Expert Group on Non-Financial Disclosure and the UN Sustainable Stock Exchange Advisory Group. She is currently a member of the IIRC Governance and Nominations Committee, the Smith School Global Sustainable Finance Advisory Council, the UN Global Assessment Report Advisory Council and the Global Reporting Initiative. Jessica is a chartered accountant, a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, has an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and a BA in Economics from the University of Cambridge.

  • Angela Broad, Senior Investor Relations Director, National Grid

    Angela Broad Angela Broad oversees National Grid’s investor relations team in providing effective interface between the company and the investment community. She uses her wider energy market experience and passion for net zero to progress National Grid’s investment proposition and showcase to investors the real difference that the company is making in enabling the energy transition. She joined National Grid in 2021 following 8 years at BP plc where she was formerly senior group investor relations manager and more recently a business and commercial manager in BP’s gas and power trading division.

  • Shivani Kak, Head of IR, Moody’s

    Shivani Kak Shivani Kak heads the Investor Relations Team and is responsible for managing effective communications with the analytical community, as well as existing and potential shareholders. Prior to this role, she managed the US Structured Finance Relationship Management team within the Commercial Group. She joined Moody's in 2008 as a European RMBS analyst in the Structured Finance team. She moved to the Commercial department in 2011, to focus on Structured Finance business development, including secondments to both the Hong Kong and New York offices. She also spent time in the Product Management Group with global responsibility for product related requests and initiatives linked to Structured Finance and investor requested products. Prior to joining Moody's, she was a Director at Lehman Brothers, specializing in Structured Finance origination and structuring. Shivani holds an MBA from the Johnson School at Cornell University and a B.Sc. (Hons) in Russian and European Studies from the University of Surrey and speaks fluent Russian.

Friday 18 June - Festival of IR

#IRConf2021

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