As IR veteran Laura Gagnon slips into her new role as vice president of investor relations at agricultural chemicals and fertiliser giant Mosaic, she tells IR magazine she is passionate about the company’s ‘mission of helping grow the food the world needs – it’s easy to get behind that.’
Gagnon took over the IR reins at Mosaic last month after nearly 15 years in IR slots in the financial services industry, most recently as vice president of investor relations at Ameriprise Financial, where she established the IR function following that company’s spin-off from American Express in 2005. She started her IR career at St Paul Companies in 1997.
The spin-off experience may be useful in her new assignment: Mosaic was created as a spin-off from privately held Cargill in 2004, with the parent retaining a 64 per cent stake, but all that is about to change.
In January this year, Cargill announced it would swap its Mosaic stake for Cargill stock held by current Cargill shareholders, including family charitable trusts and holders of Cargill debt. ‘It’s a very exciting time here, not only for the industry, but also for the IR function, with the change in shareholder base expected to come in the next 15 months,’ Gagnon says.
How big a shift does Gagnon see, jumping from financial services to fertiliser? ‘I don’t see it as completely different,’ she states. Drawing parallels between the two, she points out that both industries are cyclical. ‘I didn’t go looking for a new job, but was very attracted to the mission, the opportunity and the people, and I’m very excited to see what comes of it over the next few years,’ she adds.
During Mosaic’s last earnings conference call, it was announced that Gagnon would step into the new role, while the company’s former IRO Christine Battist would rotate into a new role within the firm. Battist, who has been active in the NIRI Twin Cities chapter, moved into the IR role more than three years ago.