CHICAGO—Veteran investor relations professional Chris Hodges has formed a new firm, Alpha IR Group.

Hodges was one of the former co-founders of Ashton Partners, an independent Chicago-based investor relations consultancy that grew to about 60 people before it was sold to Financial Dynamics (FD, a division of FTI Consulting) in 2007.

While at FD/FTI, Hodges was a senior managing director who first ran the Chicago office’s strategic communications group and then headed up the North American industrial practice for that same group.

Ashton Partners started in 1997, and grew to almost 60 people by the time of its sale in October of 2007.

“Since the sale of Ashton, the IR consulting space has missed an independent voice and a true thought leader,” Hodges says. “As an independent agency, one that’s 100 percent dedicated to IR services, Alpha IR will fill that void.”

The firm will provide strategic counsel via small- and mid-cap partnership programs, and all-cap research and project services, designed to protect clients’ reputations, credibility, and valuation.