Hot IR Chicks for Hedge Fund Marketing?

January 10, 2011

The people skills needed for Investor Relations at hedge funds don’t always come naturally to the number-crunching quants. So many firms outsource this job to bright, socially competent and, as New York Magazine pointed out recently, aesthetically pleasing young women.

For every Nicholas Gentileschi or Josh Birnbaum, they say, there are a dozen “sallow-skinned, mouth-breathing math geeks.”  So, under the auspices of Investor Relations or Marketing, the “IR Hottie” has become a fixture at many hedge funds. Much like having “cheerleaders for the math team.”  NY Mag polled managers, investors and industry watchers to come up with a list of the top 12 hottest chicks in Investor Relations, which you can scan through at your peril.

And now Business Insider recently pointed out that gold mining giant Petropavlovsk just hired an attractive Investor Relations staffer with an unusual background, to lure potential hedge fund investors.

A good IR person needs to be well groomed, well educated, and have a treasure trove of good stories to keep investors spellbound. 43-year-old Uzbek-born Alya Samokhvalova seems to fit the bill.

Her family had to sell their home just to buy train tickets to Moscow when they were forced to flee from their native Uzbekistan because they “weren’t Uzbek enough for the locals.”

She worked her way up the corporate ladder of a pharmaceutical firm and in her 30s, married a prominent oil executive who later died of a heart attack. After that, Samokhvalova had to find work.

She earned a Masters in Investment Management degree from CASS Business School in London and a PhD in Economics from the Moscow International High Business School. And she was smart enough to focus on an industry that is going to boom for many years: precious metals.

Samokhvalova’s big break came when her late husband’s friends asked her to take a gift back to Petropavlovsk (formerly Peter Hambro Mining), in London for them.  She ended up meeting both Peter Hambro and Pavel Maslovskiy, the CEO of Petropavlovsk, telling them her life story, and getting a job offer. Now, Samokhvalova has been appointed to the executive board of the $4 billion gold miner and is the first female executive director at the company.

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