The National Investor Relations Institute Is Turning 50!

The largest professional investor relations association in the world is turning 50. The 50th Anniversary Committee, led by past board chair Mark Donohue, has worked hard to develop engaging and memorable events throughout 2019. The festivities will include special programs at the 2019 Annual Conference in Phoenix in June; during Leadership Week in Washington, D.C., in September; and at the Senior Roundtable Annual Meeting in Santa Barbara, California, in December.

Though 1969 is the official founding year, the story really began in 1953, when “the Chairman of General Electric (GE) made the first systemic effort to formalize a corporation’s relationship with shareholders,” as reported in “The Origins of NIRI." The American Management Association (AMA) organized the first conference on investor relations in 1958, which attracted 100 people. The AMA continued to focus on IR for the next decade. Wayne State University picked up the IR thread during the early 1960s. By 1965, a group of IR practitioners in New York had started monthly luncheons which eventually became organized as the Investor Relations Association.

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Soon the group realized the need to take the idea nationally and considered several options, including affiliating with the AMA or Wayne State or even the Public Relations Society of America. Finally, in late 1968 the group decided to organize a new, stand-alone association known as NIRI, which was formally founded in 1969. The Investor Relations Association, which spawned NIRI, continues to meet monthly in New York.

The late Lou Thompson, former NIRI President and CEO, at a NIRI event in 1987.

NIRI chapters will be encouraged to highlight the anniversary at one major chapter event during the year and will be asked to “Give 50 for 50” — raise or give $50 per member and/or 50 hours (total) of volunteer time to support a charity of their choice in celebration of the anniversary.

As part of the 50th anniversary, a “Think Tank on the Future of IR” group, led by Lynn Tyson, executive vice president, investor relations at Ford Motor Co., will release a white paper that will explore how the profession may evolve over the next decade. The anniversary will be featured in NIRI publications and social media platforms. IR Update magazine will publish articles on NIRI’s first half-century, including a special keepsake edition in November that will honor the IR professionals who shaped the profession while looking ahead at the future of investor relations. In addition, each edition of the IR Update Weekly newsletter will include a “Test Your IRQ” quiz question to test members’ knowledge of NIRI history.

It is good to reflect on NIRI’s origins, but we must also put equal focus on the future. Like any field or discipline, investor relations is constantly changing. The process of continuous reinvention is driven by new technology, changing investor demands or new regulation. The cycle of reinvention then requires practitioners to renew and update knowledge and skills. It is the dynamic of reinvention and renewal that has kept generations of IR professionals engaged in NIRI.

For more insights on NIRI's history, please read this special IR Update edition that was published to celebrate NIRI's 25th anniversary

The Spring 2019 edition of IR Update includes a feature article on NIRI's first 20 years

We encourage you to share any photos that you have from NIRI events prior to 2005. If you have any photos to share, please contact Robin Kite at


Join the 50th Celebration at the 2019 NIRI Annual Conference!

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