If David Letterman was an IR Guy

Perhaps even more unlikely than injuring yourself while playing Mahjong is the sliver of possibility that David Letterman will be leaving his new retirement life to become … wait for it … an investor relations professional. I can’t even imagine what the probability of something like that might look like as a percentage: .00000000000001%?

Source: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

Source: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley/Released

What is possible, however, is coming up with one of Letterman’s famed top-10 lists to define key concepts of IR, especially for management teams that are new to life at the helm of a publicly traded company. Following is our initial list, and we encourage you to add to it on Twitter at #LettermanDoesIR.

1. Under promise and over deliver

2. Treat your shareholders with dignity, even if they’re seething with disdain

3. Love (or at least do not fear) thy activist

4. Show investors, don’t tell

5. Strategize, execute, perform, communicate
Strategize, communicate, execute, communicate, perform, communicate

6. Transparency wins

7. The numbers will tell

8. Perform, not promote

9. Do not bury the lead

10. The story is the business, not the stock price

— Evan Pondel,

2009 Top Ten

What a year it’s been.  Although it’s not quite over yet, there are many things to look back upon.  Some good, some definitely not so good, but in all, very interesting and impactful.
Here is the top ten, in no particular order:

  1. Bernie Madoff – Although this scandal actually began in late 2008, its ramifications rocked the financial world throughout 2009.

  2. Galleon GroupHedge fund insider trading; an investor relations firm; a top tier law firm…this case had it all.

  3. Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) – Meant to stabilize the crumbling financial system, the program, which also launched in late 2008, had a wide ranging affect on executive pay and recruiting within the financial services industry in 2009.

  4. Tiger Woods – While not a financial story per se, we all got a glimpse into how not to manage a crisis.

  5. David Letterman – While also not a financial story per se, we all got a glimpse into how to manage a crisis.

  6. Black Friday – While more shoppers turned out for the busiest shopping day of the season, it was not all cheer for retailers as consumers spent less and favored lower-cost items.

  7. Bank reform – In mid-December, the House passed a sweeping bank reform bill to prevent another major financial meltdown.  It requires banks and Wall Street firms to pay into an emergency fund, and creates the first ever Consumer Financial Protection Agency to regulate credit cards and mortgages.

  8. Mortgage Meltdown – Tied inextricably to number six on this list, banks risky lending practices resulted in chaos for consumers and the financial markets.

  9. Unemployment – The national unemployment rate now stands at 10%, but recent data shows that during the week ended December 5, we saw the 14th straight decline in claims and the lowest level since September 2008.

  10. Stock Market Rebound – Through late November from March 9 (the low point of the bear market), the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 63%; the S&P 500 rose 61%; and the Nasdaq grew 72%. Year-to-date, the Dow has yielded a 23% return, (including reinvested dividends); the S&P 500, 25%; and the Nasdaq, more than 37%.

Happy holidays to all.  May 2010 be productive, prolific and profitable.


Laurie Berman,