Tom McCallum joined Zoom in February of 2019 having successfully led global investor relation teams across the technology industry including semi-conductors, software, hardware and Internet. Tom has two decades of experience running investor communications and events including earnings announcements, analyst day meetings and hundreds of global investor roadshows. In addition, Tom has successfully led the investor relations role for transactions including an IPO, a debt offering and a convertible debt offering. Prior to joining Zoom, Tom was the Vice President of Investor Relations at Red Hat. Tom helped Red Hat scale its investor relations program and drive the company’s intrinsic value from $3 billion in market capitalization to $34 billion.
Tom holds an M.B.A. in Business Administration from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and a B.A. in Economics from Colby College. Tom was a member of the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA) and he has earned the Investor Relations Charter (IRC) designation.
We spoke with Tom to get his insights on challenges facing IROs and the skills needed to be successful.
How have you established your company’s priorities amid the Coronavirus pandemic?
At Zoom, we found ourselves very rapidly being part of the critical infrastructure for people to connect around the world. For me, this included helping the financial community and a number of public companies looking to connect and be productive in the new virtual world. While Zoom went to over 300 million daily participants from 10 million daily participants in just a couple of months and it was all hands on deck. I found myself acting as the contact person for sales leads, IT help, customer service rep for Wall Street and IROs looking to stay connected and productive. It was an exciting time!
How has the spread of COVID-19 effected your strategy as an IRO? Specifically, have you had to answer significant questions from investors around supply-chain impact?
We have been a video-first company since day one, so moving virtually was an easy transition – remote Earnings webinars, virtual bus tours and video investor conferences and analyst days were already part of our IR DNA.
We are a SaaS software model so most of our expenses are people related and we had record hiring in the first quarter of FY21. From an infrastructure perspective, we did see some delays early on for servers and we were able to leverage the public cloud to enable us to scale to meet the demand.
How has your team prepped for earnings and post-earnings investor engagement?
Since our main product enables virtual meetings and collaboration, we easily transitioned to all remote. What was really interesting was working with other IROs and seeing them take the Zoom technology to make it specific to their culture and add creative aspects that we had not even used ourselves.
What advice do you have for the next generation of IR leaders?
- Know the business and be credible – Investors expect you have deep knowledge of the business so don’t hurt your credibility by speaking without preparation.
- Be responsive – I have always had a self-imposed SLA of one business day to get back to investors with questions. It might be the specific answer but at least an acknowledgement that we are working on a response
- Integrity is the most important thing you own. No one can take it from you and don’t feel pressured to compromise your integrity ever.
What is one important initiative that you’ve championed or experience that you’ve had as an IRO?
I have been doing this a long time and I feel very proud at being in front of investors during times of crisis or uncertainty. It is easy to write a good script when the numbers are great but I believe investors truly appreciate a visible IR function when things are tough. It is a great way to build trust even though there is typically drama and high emotion early on.
As far as initiatives, Zoom has just embarked on an ESG journey this past month. I am really looking forward to hitting a number of deliverables over the next couple years. ESG is the right thing to do for all companies.
What are some benefits you have seen from being a Surveillance, Targeting and IR Insight client?
I have been a Nasdaq customer for many years at different companies and it is great to see how the platform has evolved. We use all three products to help set our IR strategy, build a better IR program and communicate internally with management and the Board of Directors. We also just renewed for a multi-year contract.
While you have been at Zoom, can you recall a highlight while working with Nasdaq?
The IPO process was great and Nasdaq was really helpful and supportive. The Zoom IPO was my first and I arrived about a month before the S1 filing. Nasdaq made it feel seamless to put the IR infrastructure in place. They were also world class at hosting the event and supporting our brand.