ALEXANDRIA, VA – The National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) announced at its annual meeting on Wednesday that NIRI members elected four new directors to four-year terms: Patrick Davidson, Vice President, Investor Relations, Oshkosh Corporation; Jennifer Driscoll, IRC, Director of Investor Relations, E. I. DuPont; Jeffrey K. Smith, IRC, CFA, Staff Director, Investor Relations, FedEx Corporation; and Ruth Venning, Executive Director, Investor Relations, Horizon Pharma. 

NIRI members approved a bylaw amendment to create a new Associate Member Director seat to represent the views of NIRI’s service providers. Michael Becker, Executive Vice President, International Business Strategy, Business Wire, was elected to this new position and will serve a two-year term. NIRI members also voted for a bylaw amendment to create a 18th directorship for the outgoing Board chair to provide continuity in leadership.     

NIRI President and CEO Gary A. LaBranche, FASAE, CAE, said, “It gives me great pleasure to welcome these accomplished IR professionals to the NIRI Board of Directors. They will play a critical role in helping the Board to provide strategic guidance to ensure the long-term vitality of our organization and the IR profession.”

LaBranche added, “I would like to thank those Board members who are stepping down after their dedicated service to NIRI: David Calusdian, Angeline McCabe, and Nils Paellmann. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their service to our members and the IR profession.” 

“I also want to thank outgoing Board Chair Valerie Haertel, IRC, for her steady leadership over the past year as NIRI has completed a CEO transition, revitalized its professional development offerings, and expanded its advocacy efforts,” LaBranche said.  
Welcoming Our New Board Members
Patrick Davidson has worked for Oshkosh since 2006 as vice president of IR. He was a key part of Oshkosh's success in fending off both a proxy contest and a failed tender offer by a well-known activist investor. Prior to his work at Oshkosh, he spent 14 years at Harley-Davidson, Inc. and had a variety of responsibilities, including Asia-Pacific strategy, corporate purchasing, and investor relations. 

Jennifer Driscoll, IRC, has served as DuPont’s director of IR since August 2015. Prior to DuPont, she served as vice president for IR at Campbell Soup Co. from June 2009 to August 2015, and as vice president of IR and public relations at Best Buy Co. Inc. from January 2001 to May 2009.

Jeffrey Smith, IRC, CFA has served on the FedEx investor relations team since 1998. He has primary responsibility for institutional investors in the eastern United States, Europe, and the Middle East. In addition, he assists in the development of all financial community communications and oversees financial media outreach and the production of the FedEx Annual Report. Prior to FedEx, he managed First Tennessee Bank's mutual fund family. 

Ruth Venning joined Horizon Pharma in May 2017 as its executive director of IR, where she is integrally involved with strategic planning, messaging, analytics, and investor communications. In addition, she coordinates the development of IR communications, manages IR activities and drives Horizon’s proxy outreach efforts. She previously worked 10 years at Hospira, Inc., where she served as director of IR.

Michael Becker was named as executive vice president for international business strategy at Business Wire in January 2016. Previously, he had served as senior vice president, financial product strategy, and as vice president, global disclosure and financial reporting services, at Business Wire. Michael oversees Business Wire's eight international offices, international sales partnerships, global disclosure services, partnerships within the broader financial community, and is responsible for identifying revenue-generating opportunities.

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