Transparency in troubled times

Devoting more time to investors and communicating data to support what you’re saying are among the take-home messages McKinsey & Company consultants heard when they interviewed CEOs of 14 major companies recently for a report on Leadership Lessons for Hard Times.

Jay Fishman, Chairman and CEO of Travelers, weighs in on both the commitment and the content for investor relations in a challenging time:

If I’ve learned anything in the last 18 months, it’s that transparency in troubled times really matters. …

If asked to describe this or that exposure, the advice from many IR departments is to use some formulation that basically says don’t worry. I’ve tried to resist that. Now is not the time to tell people not to worry. If you’re in the financial services industry, you ought to be able to quantify. I try to be specific, and weve gained credibility as a result.

“Not the time to tell people not to worry” – I like that. Instead, give investors the data that leads you to your outlook. And let them decide whether to worry.

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