ALEXANDRIA, VA – The National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) today announced the election of Lee M. Ahlstrom, IRC, as the 2018 Chair of the NIRI Board of Directors. Ahlstrom, who currently serves as chief financial officer at Paragon Offshore, has nearly 20 years of experience in investor relations, strategic planning, and consulting. He will succeed Valerie Haertel, IRC, Global Head of Investor Relations for BNY Mellon, at the 2017 NIRI Annual Meeting of members on November 29, in Laguna Beach, California and will serve until the 2018 annual meeting.
“I am very pleased that Lee Ahlstrom will be NIRI’s next Board Chair,” Ms. Haertel said. “Lee is a thoughtful and engaged Board member with a passion for our profession. I cannot think of a better qualified individual to lead and further strengthen our organization as our strategy and our membership evolves to better serve our chapters and all of our members. I am confident that Lee will continue to add tremendous value to NIRI. I look forward to continuing to support the Board, our new CEO, and our members as we seek to unveil our new One NIRI strategy.”

The NIRI Board also elected Ronald A. Parham, Senior Director, IR and Corporate Communications, Columbia Sportswear, to a newly created position of Chair-Elect for 2018. As Chair-Elect, he will work closely with the Chair, serve as the liaison to the Annual Conference Committee, preside at Board meetings in the Chair’s absence and succeed Ahlstrom as Chair at the 2018 annual meeting. The Board also approved a proposed bylaw to permit the outgoing Chair to remain on the Board for a year to provide continuity in leadership. 

“This is an incredibly exciting time for NIRI as we continue the process of reinvention,” said Mr. Ahlstrom. “I am both thrilled and humbled to have been elected next year’s Board Chair. As our profession continues to evolve, I believe that NIRI membership has never been more beneficial.  We have a tremendous CEO and staff, and it will be my privilege to work with them, Chair-Elect Ron Parham, and the rest of our Board to advance NIRI’s mission and enhance our value proposition.”

“This has been a year of change for NIRI and I am certain that I speak on behalf of the membership in expressing our gratitude to Valerie for the critical role she played and continues to play as our current Board Chair,” Mr. Ahlstrom said. “Her tireless, focused, and collaborative leadership has been instrumental in ensuring a smooth leadership transition and I am thankful that under a proposed change to our bylaws, Valerie will continue to serve as a key advisor and board member.”

Ahlstrom was named interim CFO for Paragon in November 2016 and confirmed in the position in August 2017. Previously, he served as senior vice president of IR, strategy, and planning at Paragon since its founding in 2014. Earlier, he served as senior vice president, strategic development, at Noble Corp. since May 2011. He joined Noble in May 2006 as vice president of IR and planning.

Prior to Noble, Ahlstrom served as the director of IR at Burlington Resources, Inc. which was acquired by ConocoPhillips Co. in March 2006. Before joining Burlington, Ahlstrom worked for Unocal Corp. in a variety of roles, including manager of IR. From 1998 to 2002, he was a consultant with McKinsey & Company, advising clients in the petroleum, services, and venture capital industries. Ahlstrom began his career with Exxon where he held a variety of engineering positions. He holds both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware. 

Ahlstrom, who was part of the second class of Investor Relations Charter® holders has been deeply involved in NIRI throughout his career, was elected to the Board of Directors in 2015 and has served as chair of the Professional Development Committee and as co-chair of the 2016 Annual Conference. He has served in various roles with NIRI Houston, including chapter president.  

Parham joined Columbia Sportswear in January 2008 as director of IR and was named senior director of IR and corporate communications in October 2008. From 1998 through 2007, he was managing director of PondelWilkinson Parham, an IR and corporate communications consulting firm in Portland, Oregon, an affiliate of PondelWilkinson Group in Los Angeles.

“I’m honored to be NIRI’s 2018 Chair-Elect and look forward to working closely with Lee and the rest of the Board to provide governance and guidance to NIRI leadership as they seek to fulfill NIRI’s mission to be the world’s preeminent professional association for IROs,” Mr. Parham said.

From 1983 to 1998, Parham held various accounting and strategic planning positions with NIKE, Inc., serving as the company’s first full-time director of IR from 1987 to 1995, during which the company’s revenues grew from $900 million to $6 billion. From 1980 to 1983, he was an auditor with Coopers & Lybrand in Portland.
Parham has been a member of NIRI since 1988, was president of the NIRI Portland chapter from 2001 to 2008, and has served as a NIRI Virtual board member since 2011. He was elected to the NIRI National Board in 2016, where he now serves as chair of the Advocacy Committee. He also was a co-chair of the 1994 NIRI Annual Conference and served on the 1993 Annual Conference Committee. 

About the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI)
Founded in 1969, NIRI ( is the professional association of corporate officers and investor relations consultants responsible for communication among corporate management, shareholders, securities analysts and other financial community constituents. NIRI is the largest professional investor relations association in the world with more than 3,300 members representing over 1,600 publicly held companies and $9 trillion in stock market capitalization.

Contact: Ted Allen, (703) 562-7681,