Comcast Corp.’s Marlene Dooner says she has never felt comfortable in the spotlight. But the company’s vice president of investor relations is a high-profile presence to the cadre of analysts who follow Comcast’s increasingly intricate finances.
As Comcast’s face on Wall Street, Dooner needs to be more than just an effective number cruncher. She has to develop a rapport with analysts and determine which of the dozens of analyst conferences are worth attending.
“She has a complete understanding of the issues and expresses them in a way that comes across clearly and coherently,” says Comcast treasurer John Alchin, pointing to one of the reasons why Women in Cable & Telecommunications is honoring her with its Woman to Watch accolade this year.
Dooner became a reassuring voice to Wall Street as Comcast remade itself into a telecommunications powerhouse — buying AT&T Broadband and Media One on the distribution side while building up its content portfolio and pursuing such giants as The Walt Disney Co.
“They did a great job. When they announced AT&T they really laid it out,” says Merrill Lynch senior analyst Jessica Reif-Cohen. “She has broken it down in a very understandable way for analysts and investors as the business model has changed and gotten more tech-oriented.”
Recently, IR executives have had a tough time as investors have beaten down cable stocks over fears of telco competition. Dooner says there is little else to do but calmly tell Comcast’s story. “We’ve always found ways to be more clear, more specific,” she says of previous dips. “We have to keep telling the story the best we can.”
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