If the quality of a company’s investor relations effort depends crucially on having effective support and input from senior management, then Unilever’s IR department is in a strong position.
Paul Polman, Unilever’s CEO, enjoyed wide-ranging praise from members of the investment community in the interviews carried out by Mary Maude Research to identify the winners of this year’s IR Magazine Europe Awards. So much, indeed, that he won the award for best investor relations by a CEO at a large-cap company, by a handsome margin over Portugal Telecom’s Zeinal Bava and BASF’s Dr Jürgen Hambrecht.
According to one of the buy-side respondents to the research, ‘[Polman] has engineered a turnaround of Unilever by taking sensible steps to bring it up to speed with competitors. Investors and analysts alike are happy with the initiatives and believe there is still more to come.’
And if it’s unclear from that comment whether the investor is really talking about Polman’s running of the business rather than his contribution to IR, this one leaves no room for doubt: ‘It’s not just because Paul Polman is such an excellent speaker that he is rated so highly, but also because he has a really good eye for social trends and delivers the message with charm and conviction.’ Nor does this: ‘It’s the clarity with which he speaks that makes Polman stand out. He says it how it is and then delivers on strategy and targets.’