CIRI Announces 2013 Recipients for the Award for Excellence and the Belle Mulligan Award for Leadership in Investor Relations

TORONTO, June 3, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Investor Relations Institute (CIRI) is pleased to announce that Colleen Vancha has been chosen as the 25th recipient of the Award for Excellence in Investor Relations and Richard Downey has been chosen as the 4th recipient of the Belle Mulligan Award for Leadership in Investor Relations. These individuals were honoured at CIRI's 26th Annual Investor Relations Conference in Whistler, British Columbia this afternoon.

Award for Excellence in Investor Relations

The Award for Excellence in Investor Relations is given by CIRI to honour individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the investor relations profession and to the Institute.

Colleen Vancha is a well-respected investor relations executive and a dedicated CIRI volunteer. She has over 30 years of experience as a seasoned corporate communications and investor relations professional, responsible for financial and investor relations, strategic communications, public affairs, stakeholder relationships, brand management and corporate social responsibility. Ms. Vancha is President of Creative Advantage Consulting Ltd., a strategic communications, investor relations and marketing firm serving clients throughout Western Canada. In 2011, Ms. Vancha retired from her role as Viterra's Senior Vice-President of Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs. She managed the company's investor relations program and oversaw the company's global public affairs, brand and sustainability programs. Ms. Vancha established the investor relations division when the company went public in 1996 and played a key role in the purchase of ABB Grain in Australia in 2009 and its rebranding under the Viterra banner. She was also central in the company's restructuring, recapitalization and acquisition of Agricore United in 2007. Ms. Vancha has been an active volunteer for many years, having co-chaired the National Conference in 2008, as well as spent seven years on the National Board, which she chaired from 2011 to 2012.

"Colleen is a passionate supporter of CIRI and of the investor relations profession in general. Her willingness to help in whatever area that was required is exemplary and she is a great role model for others to follow," said David Carey, 2012 Award recipient and Senior Vice President, Capital Markets, ARC Resources Ltd.

"Colleen willingly shares her investor relations and communications knowledge and experience with the members of CIRI," said Yvette Lokker, President & CEO of CIRI. "She has made a tremendous contribution to the investor relations profession and to CIRI through her role as Chair of the Board as well as Co-chair of the Resource & Education and Membership Committees."

Belle Mulligan Award for Leadership in Investor Relations

The Belle Mulligan Award for Leadership in Investor Relations is given by CIRI in honour of the late Belle Mulligan to recognize individuals who have shown singular leadership in one or more aspects of the practice of investor relations.

Belle Mulligan (1940-2009) will long be remembered as a leader and standard setter in the IR profession, and a founder of CIRI. Her passion for IR began through her association with NIRI in the early 1970s. When she returned to Canada in 1981, she joined a small cadre of IR leaders here to develop NIRI Canada, now CIRI. She served on both the CIRI and NIRI Boards, and was a frequent speaker at IR events. She was respected for her integrity, which cemented her credibility, and she was cited by one analyst as "adding 10% to the valuation" of the senior gold mining company she represented. Her professionalism won her many admirers, and her engaging personality and generous heart won her a wide circle of friends. She was a mentor to many IROs, urging them to set their sights high within their organizations.

Richard Downey has demonstrated leadership in investor relations at Agrium. Over the last year, he was instrumental in the successful achievement of a shareholder vote in support of management in the face of significant opposition from an activist shareholder. Mr. Downey has held roles of increasing responsibility since joining Agrium in 1996. He is currently the Vice President of Investor and Corporate Relations for Agrium Inc. where he is responsible for interactions with investors, media and internal corporate communications. Mr. Downey also has responsibility for Agrium's market analysis and outlook duties. Previously, he held the role of Director of Strategic Planning and Market Research at Agrium. Prior to joining Agrium, Mr. Downey worked for various organizations such as the Canadian Wheat Board, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in France, specializing in international agricultural policies, trade and economic research.

Mr. Downey is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan, where he earned his Masters degree in Agriculture Economics.

"Richard played a key role in Agrium's successful defense against activist shareholder, Jana Partners," said Yvette Lokker, President & CEO of CIRI. "He was actively engaged with investors, telling the Agrium strategy in over 400 one-on-one's over the three months leading up to the shareholder vote, demonstrating the importance of a solid investor relations program."

"Richard was an ideal winner of the Award for Leadership as evidenced by the shareholder support of the company's position in the recent takeover battle," said Len Mulligan, Belle's husband.

About CIRI

CIRI is a professional, not-for-profit association of executives responsible for communication between public corporations, investors and the financial community. CIRI contributes to the transparency and integrity of the Canadian capital market by advancing the practice of investor relations, the professional competency of its members and the stature of the profession. With approximately 600 members and four chapters across the country, CIRI is the voice of IR in Canada. For further information, please visit

SOURCE: Canadian Investor Relations Institute

For further information:

Yvette Lokker
President & CEO
Canadian Investor Relations Institute (CIRI)
(416) 629-3269

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