DEARBORN - K.R. Kent is Executive Director of our Investor Relations group. K.R. recently talked to @Ford about the group’s goals, as well as our upcoming Investor Day in New York.
Q: What are some of the goals of our Investor Relations group?
A: Now that we’ve moved past several years of financial crisis in world economies and into a growth mode, the company has decided to increase our communications with all types of investors and make sure they understand the Ford story and where we’re heading. We want them to get a real idea of what Ford is doing so that they can appropriately value our stock and value our bonds as well.
Q: Does this include individual investors?
A: We do frequently hear from individual investors who will typically reach out to us when they have questions.
Q: How do you typically communicate with investors?
A: There’s a whole strategy around our communications. The biggest pieces revolve around our quarterly earnings releases. That’s when investors really see something new out of the company as far as how we performed over the last quarter. We also do a lot of investor conferences around the world, often set up where a bank will gather a large group of investors and bring in different companies to talk to them. We’ll do those conferences 7, 8 or 9 times a year.
This year we’re adding back an Investor Day in New York coming up next week on June 7. We haven’t done an Investor Day for quite a while. This will be a major opportunity for our senior executives to talk to investors separated from the normal earnings environment. We want to talk about things like, what does profitable growth for all really mean to everybody.
Q: Why did we decide to do an Investor Day now?
A: Many companies hold this type of event, about 60 or 70 percent of companies I believe. For us, it’s a chance to capitalize on the fact that 2010 was a great year for us and we have such a strong story to tell about where our company is heading. So both investors and analysts will have a chance to understand what we’re trying to accomplish and, in turn, we’ll have a chance to figure out a bit of what the investors and analysts are thinking about us.
Q: Can you be any more specific about what information you’ll share?
A: We want to continue to reinforce that we have a plan for success. We’re going to go through Alan’s four points of the plan and really focus on that the future is about profitable growth for all. It’s about being competitive in revenues and costs. It's about growth. It’s about having best-in-class products and delivering the Ford brand promise around the main four pillars – quality, green, safe, and smart – and making sure people understand that’s what we’re trying to accomplish and that is what profitable growth for all is about. It impacts all stakeholders from dealers and suppliers to employees to investors.
One other thing to note about June 7 is that we’ll be starting the day by ringing the bell at the opening of the New York Stock Exchange that morning. We’ve lined up representatives of all our different stakeholders – dealers, suppliers, employees, UAW – to join Alan for that event.
Q: What else do you want employees to understand about your group and what your group does?
A: There are really two aspects of Investor Relations. One is a direct interface to investors. We are basically the voice of management to the street. We talk to them all the time. We go to conferences all the time. We meet with a lot of investors. So we’re constantly telling the Ford Story to the street. At the same, we get a lot of feedback from the street – from the investors out there, from the analysts out there – of what they think, what they see in the business, what they see in the industry. We’re also the voice of investors back to management. And so in the end what we’re trying to do is to ensure a fair value of our stock, ensure a fair value of our bonds that are out there and at the same time interface with investors and provide that information back to management.
Q: How will we share information from Investor Day with our employees?
A: Right now, roughly 7 percent of Ford stock is held by employees – so many of the team are investors as well! There is a website we will share on @Ford Online where investors can listen in from 1-4 p.m. that day, and of course there will be coverage on @Ford as well. Investors that can not listen in on the day of the event can listen to a replay from the Ford Investor Relations website after the event.
Q: Is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you think is important to mention either with regard to the role of your group or Investor Day?
A: One thing I want to add is that a lot of people think that Investor Relations’ role in the company is to push the stock price as high as possible. Our goal is to get our story out, get a fair value for our stock and really let the base business drive our stock. As we improve our base business, as we do all the things that we have in our strategy – expand common platforms, make more profit, improve cash flow – our stock will go up. And it’s over time. You never want to get yourself into a situation or position where your stock is way undervalued and at the same time you don’t want to get in a position where your stock is way overvalued, the irrational exuberance. You want a fair value for your stock and that’s what we’re trying to shoot for.