Yesterday Jessica Holscott assumed leadership of Time Warner’s Investor Relations group, succeeding Mike Kopelman who is headed to Home Box Office. You can read the full release here, but we sat down with Jessica, who joined the company as a Senior Vice President in March, to get to know her and her new role a little better.
Jessica, congrats. You have a unique perspective on our company because since joining earlier this year you have met with so many colleagues as well as outside investors. What have you learned about Time Warner that has surprised you the most?
Thank you. What has struck me the most is that the quality of work is very high no matter where you go in the company--people are striving to be excellent whether they are making a movie or TV show or digital product or working at Corporate. I also feel like it’s a very supportive environment in terms of both the learning curve I’ve had from Mike Kopelman and everyone at corporate as well as everyone around the businesses wanting to help IR succeed in its role.
Let’s talk about that role. Describe for the uninitiated what the IR group does day to day.
Basically, Investor Relations facilitates communication between the company and “the street”; we help explain the company’s strategy and financial results to the buy side, who are the investors, and sell side, the analysts at banks that cover us. We do this in a variety of ways, of course through our quarterly earnings reports and conference calls, but also through participating in investor events and meetings and sometimes organizing our own. And if we’re doing all of this clearly and effectively it helps maximize our valuation, which is reflected in our stock price.
You led an award-winning IR team in your last position before joining us. Tell us a bit about your philosophy toward it?
Generally speaking, investors don’t like to be surprised so an important part of our role is to ensure that that doesn’t happen. That means our group needs to understand the trends in our industries and how they are impacting our company so that we are informed and transparent, and can be proactive. My philosophy is I’m big on personal interaction, both internally and externally. We have over 30 sell-side analysts that cover us and an enormous shareholder base so we need to be out on the road a lot.
What’s your favorite part of the job, and what is the toughest?
As far as favorite, I really like going out into the “field,” for lack of a better word, and going deep on a topic and really hearing from the experts within our company about their businesses. The toughest part of the job is dealing with inaccurate information when it arises—word can spread quickly on Wall Street and we are in an exciting industry that draws a lot of attention--but that’s part of why the IR function is so important. I know our colleagues in Corporate Communications can relate!
You’ve familiarized yourself with Time Warner over the better part of this year. What products or brands have you personally become most excited about?
I have three children under the age of nine so the brands or products I’m most excited revolve around them—we love all the Warner Bros. animated movies, my son is into video games, and Cartoon Network is getting a lot of play in our house. I’m also a big sports fan—I played softball in college—so I enjoy the sports on TBS and TNT. Also, I have to give a shout out to HBO’s The Night Of—I really enjoyed it.
Obviously the stock price at a given point in time is only one measure of our company’s performance and how we are viewed by the marketplace. That said, how many times a day do you check it?
(Laughs) More often than I’d like to admit.