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David Calusdian

David Calusdian, president at Sharon Merrill Associates, oversees the implementation of investor relations programs, coaches senior executives in presentation skills and provides strategic counsel to clients on numerous communications issues, such as corporate disclosure, proxy proposals, shareholder activism and earnings guidance. dcalusdian@investorrelations.com
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Recent Posts

Rewriting the Investor Day Playbook: Tips for Executing a Successful Virtual Event

By David Calusdian of Sharon Merrill, and David Fine of Fine Communications

Two investor day experts combine experience to deliver best practices on leveraging digital platforms to deliver a compelling virtual investor day.

The investor day is one of the most effective platforms for presenting your company’s strategy, outlining your long-term targets and showcasing the depth and strength of your management team. With the world moving to virtual formats for the foreseeable future, IROs are faced with a new task – mastering virtual investor day planning. This pivot presents new challenges as well as exciting new opportunities to engage and communicate critical messages with the investment community. 

The following are top tips for IROs to master to execute a successful virtual investor day:

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Investor Presentation, Investor Day, Investor Relations Agency, Investor Meetings, Presentation Training, Crisis Communications, IRO, Shareholder Communications, Investor Relations, Investor Relations Firm, IR Trends, Corporate Communications, Investor Event Planning, Event Planning

Preparing to Deliver your Story on a Virtual Non-Deal Roadshow

By David Calusdian, President

Five Tips to Effectively Present to Investors on a Video Platform

Management teams of publicly held companies throughout the world are readying for a new phase of the corporate “new normal” in the COVID-19 world – the virtual non-deal roadshow. After the calendar Q1 reporting season ends, management and investors will be meeting via video platforms such as Zoom, Google Hangouts or Teams to discuss their companies’ prospects going forward.

In addition to figuring out the technological logistics that will allow management to tell their companies’ stories to investors in an online format, they will need to prepare to deliver corporate messages using a different medium than what they’ve been accustomed. There is an inherent difference between communicating face to face and through a video platform. In this blog, we provide five tips to help deliver a compelling story to investors during a virtual non-deal roadshow. 

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Investor Presentation, Investor Relations Agency, Investor Meetings, Presentation Training, Crisis Communications, IRO, Shareholder Communications, Investor Relations, Investor Relations Firm, Corporate Communications

2020 Annual Shareholder Meetings: New SEC Guidance and Going Virtual

By David Calusdian, President

The option to hold a solely virtual annual meeting has been with us for several years now, but we certainly will see a dramatic increase in the number of companies using these purely online events this coming proxy season.  Broadridge’s virtualshareholdermeeting.com platform lists 140 virtual or “hybrid” (offering a virtual option to supplement the in-person meeting) events on its platform alone from now through the end of May. And we’ll be sure to see more of these events in the coming weeks as a result of the SEC’s new annual meeting guidance due to COVID-19 travel and gathering restrictions. 

Below we have shared the SEC’s guidance around three major areas relating to annual meetings, including 1) changing the date, time and location of meetings; 2) holding virtual or hybrid annual meetings; and 3) providing flexibility regarding shareholder proposals.  We have also included links to helpful resources, and proxy and news release examples relating to virtual or hybrid annual meetings. Of course, since state law governs the conduct of annual meetings, please refer to those corporate codes as well as any limitations provided by your stock exchange. 

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Investor Relations Agency, Investor Meetings, Crisis Communications, IRO, Shareholder Communications, Investor Relations, Investor Relations Firm, Corporate Communications

The Five Things to Do Before Your Next Investor Day

Investor Days can be one of the most effective and cost-efficient  activities in your IR program – but only if you’re prepared.  Anyone who has worked “behind the scenes” of an investor day knows that it can be a logistical headache. You not only need to anticipate all the possible hiccups of hosting a live event, but handle the more substantive issues associated with telling your company’s story to a roomful of investors and analysts.

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Investor Day, Analyst Day, Investor Relations, Investor Event Planning, Event Planning

In Discussing CEO Pay Ratios, Context Is Everything

New disclosure rule presents an “apples and oranges” problem

As any communication veteran knows, every corporate “happening” creates a messaging opportunity. That is certainly the case with the impending round of pay-ratio disclosures. Starting this year, under an SEC amendment to Regulation S-K, which stemmed from a provision in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, most U.S. public companies will need to disclose the total annual compensation of their “median” employees, along with the ratio of that figure to the total compensation of their chief executive officers. Based on preliminary estimates, the highest ratios could exceed 350 to 1.

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Investor Relations, crisis communication plan, executive comp, executive compensation, CEO pay ratio, compensation, internal communications

A Conversation About Crisis Preparation

When faced with a crisis, even senior IR executives can benefit from an outside perspective, particularly when that perspective is based on years of experience. In the following conversation, David Calusdian, president at Sharon Merrill Associates, discusses crisis management issues and the most effective strategies to protect corporate reputation and credibility.

Q: Can you share some recent examples of your crisis communications work, to give readers a sense of the many issues that can ensnare a public company, and discuss how you solve them?

A: Today the potential for a crisis lurks in any piece of market-moving information that originates from somewhere other than the company. It could be a social media post about an impending management shakeup, an FDA product recall or a data breach. The potential scenarios are endless, but an effective response shares a few common themes:

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Crisis Communications, Corporate Communications, crisis communication plan, crisis preparation, crisis

Five Earnings Cycle To-Do’s for the Investor Relations Officer

When many management teams contemplate the quarterly earnings cycle, they think primarily about compliance – dotting the “i”s and crossing the “t”s. But while compliance is a major driver of financial disclosure, it should not be the only one – if it were, companies would file the 10-Q or 10-K and leave it at that. Take a more strategic approach to your next earnings cycle with these five tips.

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Disclosure, Strategic Messaging, Investor Relations, Earnings, IR Compliance, reporting, Earnings cycle

Q&A With Baruch Lev: The End of Accounting?

We recently spoke with Baruch Lev, the Philip Bardes Professor of Accounting and Finance at New York University Stern School of Business. In “The End of Accounting and the Path Forward for Investors and Managers,” Prof. Lev and Feng Gu, associate professor at the University of Buffalo, propose a new system to improve transparency of corporate accounting.  This system aims to make public accounting disclosures more useful to investors. They encourage investor relations professionals to begin discussions with management to increase the usefulness and relevance of company disclosures for investors.

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Disclosure, Investor Relations, Public Accounting, accounting regulations, IR Recommendations

The Timing of Negative News: A Lesson from the Boston Bruins

Timing is everything. On Tuesday, one of the “Original Six” hockey teams fired its long-time coach Claude Julien, who in 2011 led the team to a Stanley Cup victory. The Bruins had underperformed in recent years, especially this one, and Julien, who had been the NHL’s longest-tenured coach, was shown the door. The announcement of the firing caused immediate backlash among the media and fans in New England.

What caused the uproar, however, wasn’t the actual firing of Julien, although he certainly had his defenders among Bruins fans. The problem was timing. The Bruins fired Julien two days after the New England Patriots had won Super Bowl LI in historically dramatic fashion. And in what is undoubtedly no coincidence, the announcement took place on the day of Boston’s celebratory parade and rally for the Patriots -- a day when hundreds of thousands of fans clogged the city streets to get a glimpse of their gridiron heroes. The city’s sports focus was most certainly on the Patriots. And that’s what the Bruins were counting on.

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Crisis Communications, Public Relations, Investor Relations, news releases, negative news

7 Investor Relations “Things to Do” Before Your IPO

If you’re the CFO of a pre-IPO company, the months leading up to
 your S-1 filing can be exhausting. You’ve read your registration statement so many times you have it memorized. And you cannot even begin to imagine a time when you won’t be spending every waking moment with your bankers.

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S-1, Initial Public Offering, IPO, Investor Relations, S-11, Pre-IPO

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Connect with your Investors

Establish a sincere connection with investors to communicate key messages during your Investor Day. Download our free e-book on effective presentation habits, and learn to deliver ideas with confidence and clarity.

Delivering Effective Presentations

When it's time for a change

Whether planned or sudden, it is crucial to communicate the succession of high-profile positions effectively. Download our three-part e-book and learn the best way to craft a plan for CEO, CFO and Board of Directors transitions.

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Be Proactive, Not Reactive

With our new Proxy GamePlan, we create a year-round, data-driven strategic roadmap for effective shareholder engagement. Implement a best-in-class program rooted in a deep understanding of your company’s proxy practices, shareholder voting trends and peer landscape.

Learn More About Proxy GamePlan

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Whether you’re seeking external IR counsel for the first time or evaluating your current provider, you need a firm that understands your strategy, adapts to your culture and tells your story. Download our free guide on how to assess the effectiveness of an investor relations firm.

How to Assess  an IR Firm

Activism Defense

No company is immune to shareholder activism. Sharon Merrill helps boards of directors and executive management teams identify the activist red flags lurking in your shareholder base, assess your governance risks and develop an action plan to prevent, detect and neutralize any threats. Download our free white paper, “Leveraging Institutional Shareholder Relationships to Reduce Activism Risk,” and learn how the best defense against activism is a strong offense.

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Captivate your Audience

Speaking persuasively is critical in today’s competitive business environment. Effective speakers use voice techniques and body language that project authority and credibility. Download our free e-book, “A Guide to Delivering Captivating Presentations,” for insight into good -and bad- presentation habits, and learn how to improve your skills.

Become a Persuasive Speaker 

Perceptions Matter

How do you ensure that investors clearly understand your strategy, growth drivers and market position? The most effective way is through a perception study. By periodically taking the investment community’s pulse you can avoid the knowledge gaps and misperceptions that hurt valuation. Download our free whitepaper, Why Perceptions Matter, to learn more.

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