Jeff Zilka, IRC

Senior Counselor, Financial Communications Edelman Financial Communications

Photograph of Jeff Zilka, IRC  Jeff Zilka is an award-winning strategic financial communicator with 30+ years’ experience advising managements and boards of U.S. and overseas companies, VC and PE sponsors, alternative and traditional asset managers, and financial institutions.

Formerly co-head of Edelman’s U.S. financial practice and leader of its Chicago team, Zilka counsels in five areas – strategic transactions, investor relations, financial services marketing, corporate and financial media relations, and financial litigation – for clients including Cardtronics, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Illinois Venture Capital Association, Investment Program Association, Northern Trust, Seacoast Bank, Symantec, and Worldpay.

 Representative engagements include:

  • Spinoffs: Hillshire Brands from Sara Lee (PRWeek 2013 Best Investor/Financial Communications Campaign of the Year, PRSA 2013 Silver Anvil for Investor Relations), Allegion from Ingersoll Rand, ADT from Tyco
  • Restructurings and Bankruptcies: A.M. Castle, Tribune Company, Merisant Worldwide, Sonic Automotive
  • M&A: Vantiv acquisition of Worldpay Group, plc, James Hardie acquisition of Fermacell Gmbh, Seacoast Bank (four transactions), Nuveen Investments’ buyout by Madison Dearborn Partners, WPS Resources’ merger with Peoples Energy
  • Proxy Contests and Solicitations: Astellas’ solicitation for Ocata Therapeutics, Esmark’s successful proxy contest for Wheeling-Pitt Steel Corporation, Heinz vs. Trian/Nelson Peltz
  • IPOs: Allstate Insurance, Burger King, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Demand Media, Jones Lang LaSalle
  • Activists: Tribune Publishing, Seacoast Bank, global software company (confidential)
  • Investor Days: GameStop, Global Payments, Hillshire Brands, Seacoast Bank
  • Enforcement Actions from CFPB, SEC, FINRA, OCC and state regulatory agencies
Before joining Edelman in 2002, Zilka was head of U.S. financial communications for Hill & Knowlton; and was chief communications officer of Archipelago, the Chicago-based electronic stock exchange that was acquired by the New York Stock Exchange.

Prior to relocating to Chicago in 1993, Zilka was head of investor relations for Hillsdown Holdings, a FTSE-100 constituent and then the largest independent food company in the U.K., based in London. Zilka began his career in New York as an investment banker with PaineWebber and as a bond trader with Lehman Brothers. 

Zilka’s articles on corporate governance, investor relations, market structure, and strategic transactions have been published in Barron’s, Business Insider, The Deal, IR Quarterly, IR Update and NASDAQ International. A member of the Economic Club of Chicago and Investor Relations Charter, Zilka lectures on investor activism at Northwestern Kellogg Executive Education’s Corporate Governance Program and was the founding president of the Chicago chapter of the Financial Communications Society.