NETGEAR has long believed that we have one of the hardest working and best Investor Relations teams in the country. And we are happy to know that IR Magazine agrees, as they recently nominated NETGEAR for Best Overall Investor Relations in Small Cap.
I sat down with our head of Investor Relations for the past 6 years, Chris Genualdi, to discuss how he, a music-loving, Nespresso-drinking weekend surfer, got involved in the business.
Q: Congratulations on the nomination! How did NETGEAR get nominated for this award?
A: Thanks! It really was a surprise, and an honor. IR Magazine surveys hundreds of portfolio managers and analysts to see what companies are mentioned the most for each award category. This year they narrowed it down to NETGEAR and two other companies for the Best Overall in Small Cap. There are thousands of companies in the small cap universe, so it’s really neat to receive that type of recognition, especially in such a vast playing field with so many other great companies.
Q: So what exactly do you do here at NETGEAR?
A: Well, when it comes to investor relations, I act as the main point of contact at the company for Wall Street. This means I’m telling the NETGEAR story to investors day in and day out. I travel quite a bit with Christie (Christine Gorjanc, CFO) and Patrick (Patrick Lo, CEO) to meet with our current shareholders or potential new shareholders.
When it comes time to report quarterly earnings, I spend a lot of time preparing our investor materials, crafting the story, and coordinating our earnings announcement.
I also spend about half my time working with our SVP of Corporate Development and General Counsel, Andrew Kim, looking for companies to partner with, invest in, or acquire. It’s a lot of fun, and I’m fortunate enough to get to meet lots of company founders, learn about the latest trends in technology, and sometimes end up with cool gadgets to test out in my free time.
Q: Did you start out your career in Finance? How did you end up joining this team?
A: Well, I received my degree in Leadership Studies from the University of Richmond in Virginia. I graduated at the height of the economic downturn, so after I graduated, I ended up moving west to Tahoe, to become a ski-bum for the winter. I spent my days snowboarding and bartending at an ice bar at the top of Squaw Valley Mountain. It was pretty cool. When the ski season ended, and my ice bar literally melted, I knew it was time to move on. I decided to try my luck in New York, where I got a job in finance working at an IR agency. I worked on a dozen or so tech accounts, with NETGEAR as one of my clients. I got to know Patrick and Christie during that time. I felt like they were a really impressive, smart, effective management team, while also being very down to earth. So, when Christie asked me to join the team and move in-house around 6 years ago, I moved to California, and got to work.
Q: What advice do you have for college students, or people who have just started out their career in Finance, who want to get into Investor Relations?
A: There are lots of different routes into the IR field. You can come from more of a marketing and communications background, or be more numbers-oriented and come from something like FP&A, equity research or banking. For anyone looking to get into the field, I would advise starting out at an IR agency, so that you get exposure to lots of different companies and styles, and then look to make the move in-house when you find a company that you really like.
Q: How have you enjoyed living here in the Valley? What do you do for fun? Hopefully it’s not all work and no play.
A: California is great. I love my job, but in my spare time, I enjoy surfing, listening to and playing music, or hanging out with friends. I paddle out on the weekends at Ocean Beach, Pacifica, up in Marin, or down in Santa Cruz. I’m getting married in September, and my fiancée sometimes joins me in the water, although she definitely prefers warmer climates. I also enjoy playing the guitar, going to concerts, or just geeking out on music with friends. And food, I love good food too, that’s a tremendous fact.
Q: You must love concerts, what’s the most memorable performance you’ve seen?
A: It’s really hard to choose one. But one of the most memorable that I’ve been to was a Prince show at Oakland’s Oracle Arena in March 2016. It was a really intimate show despite being held in a 20,000 person stadium. The great “Purple One” was in the center of the stadium with nothing more than a piano and a microphone. There was no band, no light show, or any other bells and whistles. And yet he had the entire stadium out of their seats and grooving the entire time. It was incredible.
Q: What is your favorite part of working at NETGEAR?
A: My favorite part about working at NETGEAR is definitely the people. One question that we get from investors pretty often is, “how does NETGEAR have such a high rate of talent retention compared to other companies in the Valley?” I think that speaks to the quality of the workplace that we have. NETGEAR is a diverse company full of passionate, fun, smart professionals from all different backgrounds. It makes for a really exciting place to be. I swear I learn something new every day at this company.