Fast 15: Skyler Ray

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 2,419 views 

Class of 2021 Skyler Ray Senior Manager, Investor Relations Tyson Foods Inc.

Bentonville native Skyler Ray was studying for a bachelor’s degree in finance at the University of Arkansas when he started working for Tyson Foods in late 2014.

Before joining the company, he had spent about 18 months working for Fayetteville-chartered Arvest Bank in multiple roles.

“I wanted to find an opportunity to get into a bigger organization with more upward opportunities while I was still in school,” Ray said. “Tyson met those criteria.”

He started speaking to Tyson employees known through family and friends and sought internship opportunities to align with his studies and interests. In December 2014, he joined Tyson as an intern in treasury. In January 2016, he was promoted to analyst in treasury. He was promoted to senior analyst in October 2017 and manager in July 2018.

As an analyst, he was responsible for cash flow forecasting and worked with rating agencies that ranked the company’s debt. He helped pitch why the company deserved a debt rating upgrade. The Moody’s rating upgrade allowed Tyson to offer a short-term borrowing program, which he managed while a senior analyst. He also worked on his first large financing project, the $4.2 billion acquisition of AdvancePierre Foods Holdings Inc. In the manager position, he focused on an accounting transition project while overseeing employees on a team he’d been a part of as an intern.

Ray started in his current role in April 2020 and is among a team of three employees in investor relations.

“I was looking for an opportunity to continue to grow but to learn something new but what I felt like was complimentary to what I did in treasury,” Ray said. “I think investor relations checked all those boxes.”

He transitioned from working with debt investors to equity investors. He takes calls from investors to provide them with more detail on the company, helps to coordinate investor events where the management team often meets with investors and works with executives on earnings releases.

“My boss calls me the earnings captain,” he added. “I’m responsible for managing a smooth process of taking our financial results each quarter and translating those into prepared remarks that we ultimately state during our earnings call to tell the story about the company’s performance.”