Saturday, May 8, 2010
Robert Half International Annual Meeting (2010)
Robert Half International (RHI) held its annual meeting in Millbrae, California at the Westin Hotel. Approximately 40 people attended the meeting. Unfortunately, I attended the meeting late and missed the video presentation and most of CEO Harold Messmer's short speech. However, a very perceptive and kind employee saw me come in late and allowed me to watch the video privately. The video, shown to shareholders and employees, discussed Robert Half's various businesses. RHI assists companies by providing flexible staffing. It is increasing its focus on small to mid-size businesses and believes the healthcare industry will represent increased flexible staffing demands. I was surprised by the diversity of RHI's businesses--RHI owns Accountemps, Finance and Accounting, Officeteam, Protiviti, and other staffing segments.
One segment of the video talked about "PEARL" (Pillsbury’s E-Discovery Alliance of Resource Leaders), an e-discovery service. For more information, click here. Law firms may be interested in such a program, assuming it is cheaper than hiring a temp legal agency (a service Robert Half Legal also offers).
The video also mentioned RHI's cash position of $349 million, with very little debt.
Everyone at the meeting was open and friendly. The hotel offered fruits, cereal, different juices, coffee, pastries, yogurt, and even a security guard outside the meeting hall. The CEO agreed to take a picture with me, and he didn't spend any time checking to see if it was a good picture (even after I told him it would be on my blog). Many executives are self-conscious, but CEO Messmer comes across as both suave and down-to-earth.
Now, I have to take time off work and sometimes drive moderate distances to come to annual meetings, so I get disappointed if there is no presentation or if the meeting is poorly run. When a company has a well-run meeting, like RHI, it makes me more confident as a shareholder and more likely to hold my shares.
Also, companies that offer shareholders goodies at the annual meeting get extra points in my book, because they are savvy enough to get free advertising. (It doesn't hurt to butter up shareholders, either.) The first picture above shows you all the different items I picked up at the meeting. RHI offered shareholders golf balls, different mugs, a stress ball, a hat, and a notebook. All of the items were branded, which gave the company a chance to show off its various businesses. Kudos to RHI for running a professional meeting and for treating shareholders to a fun morning.
Disclosure: I own an insignificant number of RHI shares.