Party frocks and tuxes will soon be making their way to the back of the wardrobe, marking a poignant end to the festive season. They probably won’t be seeing the bright lights of glitzy corporate soirées for quite some time - and certainly not to the same extent as in 2008.
Throughout the financial bloodbath of the past few months, companies have been continuing partying regardless. Lavish events had already been meticulously planned and paid for, despite the hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost across Europe.
Dresdner Kleinwort wouldn’t have dreamt of scheduling its September speed-investing day had it known Commerzbank would be announcing its takeover plans in the same month, along with 9,000 predicted job losses. It was a miracle IROs were able to meet as many investors as they did at the event, given the Lehman collapse on Monday of the same week and Lloyds’ announcement of its HBOS takeover just one day earlier.
Cost-cutting measures are being introduced to many businesses, which are likely to hit IR budgets for the coming year. One Austrian IRO told me all the managers at his company were asked to slash their costs by 10 percent; he has chosen to save money by doing in-house translations and reducing agency costs.
The show’s already over for poor old Woolworths and MFI - two seemingly indestructible UK retail groups - and who knows whether there are more casualties on the way? Entrepreneurially minded IROs have begun to leave the fold and set up their own IR consultancies. There’ll be much need for help in the coming months, but the extent to which IR can afford to splash out is another matter entirely.
Our advice is to make the most of the current festivities while they last!