jerryking + turnarounds   93

Microsoft Is Worth as Much as Apple. How Did That Happen?
Nov. 29, 2018 | The New York Times | By Steve Lohr.

Just a few years ago, Microsoft was seen as a lumbering has-been of the technology world.....the company had lost its luster, failing or trailing in the markets of the future like mobile, search, online advertising and cloud computing.....It’s a very different story today. Microsoft is running neck and neck with Apple for the title of the world’s most valuable company, both worth more than $850 billion, thanks to a stock price that has climbed 30 % over the past 12 mths.

So what happened?

* The company built on its strengths

There is a short-term explanation for Microsoft’s market rise, and there is a longer-term one.

The near-term, stock-trading answer is that Microsoft has held up better than others during the recent sell-off of tech company shares. The more enduring and important answer is that Microsoft has become a case study of how a once-dominant company can build on its strengths and avoid being a prisoner of its past. It has fully embraced cloud computing, abandoned an errant foray into smartphones and returned to its roots as mainly a supplier of technology to business customers.

* It bet big on the cloud and won …
Microsoft’s path to cloud computing — processing, storage and software delivered as a service over the internet from remote data centers — was lengthy and sometimes halting.... it did not have an offering comparable to Amazon’s until 2013. Even then, Microsoft’s cloud service was a side business. The corporate center of gravity remained its Windows operating system, the linchpin of the company’s wealth and power during the personal computer era. That changed after Mr. Nadella replaced Steven A. Ballmer, who had been chief executive for 14 years. Mr. Nadella made the cloud service a top priority, and the company is now a strong No. 2 to Amazon.....Microsoft has also retooled its popular Office apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint in a cloud version, Office 365......“The essence of what Satya Nadella did was the dramatic shift to the cloud,” said David B. Yoffie, a professor at the HBS. “He put Microsoft back into a high-growth business.”

* … while walking away from losing bets
When Microsoft acquired Nokia’s mobile phone business in 2013, Mr. Ballmer hailed the move as a “bold step into the future.” Two years later, Mr. Nadella walked away from that future, taking a $7.6 billion charge, nearly the entire value of the purchase, and shedding 7,800 workers.

Microsoft would not try to compete with the smartphone technology leaders, Apple, Google and Samsung. Instead, Microsoft focused on its developing apps and other software for business customers. Microsoft products, in the main, are about utility — productivity tools, whether people use them at work or at home. And its Azure cloud technology is a service for businesses and a platform for software developers to build applications, a kind of cloud operating system.

Mr. Nadella’s big acquisitions have been intended to add to its offerings for business users and developers. In 2016, Microsoft bought LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, for $26.2 billion.

“It’s really the coming together of the professional cloud and the professional network,” Mr. Nadella explained at the time.

This year, Microsoft paid $7.5 billion for GitHub, an open software platform used by 28 million programmers.

* It has opened up its technology and culture
Under Mr. Nadella, Microsoft has loosened up. Windows would no longer be its center of gravity — or its anchor. Microsoft apps would run not only on Apple’s Macintosh software but on other operating systems as well. Open source and free software, once anathema to Microsoft, was embraced as a vital tool of modern software development.

Mr. Nadella preached an outward-looking mind-set. “We need to be insatiable in our desire to learn from the outside and bring that learning into Microsoft,” ......“The old, Windows-centric view of the world stifled innovation,” .....“The company has changed culturally.
big_bets  cloud_computing  kill_rates  Microsoft  outward_looking  Satya_Nadella  Steve_Lohr  strengths  turnarounds 
november 2018 by jerryking
Is Thomas Goode a sleeping giant of British retail?
August 31, 2018 | Financial Times | by Horatia Harrod.

200 year old Thomas Goode & Co is a homewares powerhouse.... Outfitted in morning suits, the staff — many of whom have worked at Thomas Goode for more than two decades — are solicitous and impeccably well-informed. There’s only one thing lacking. Customers....Johnny Sandelson, is the property entrepreneur who acquired the store for an undisclosed amount in July 2018. .....Sandelson has set himself the task of waking the company up — and it’s going to take more than just turning on the lights. What is required is a 21st-century overhaul....Thomas Goode sells more over the phone than it does online, for the simple reason it has no ecommerce platform. Some 40 per cent of its £5m in annual sales comes from special orders — a loyal client outfitting their new yacht or private jet — but oligarchs alone are unlikely to keep the business afloat....The plan, Sandelson says, is to democratise. “Fortnums did it, Smythson did it. Those great British brands reinvented themselves to become relevant to the affluent middle classes, but Thomas Goode didn’t.”.......Sandelson hopes that, in an age of experiential retail, the shop’s peerless service will entice a new generation of customers. He’s also eyeing up collaborations to reach those for whom the Thomas Goode name has little resonance.......Parts of the business that had lain dormant are to be revived, with an injection of £10m-£15m in investment. There’s a voluminous archive to be mined for designs, and production of tableware in the Thomas Goode name is being restarted at factories in Stoke-on-Trent......Sandelson is committed to a revival. “We’re unashamedly proud of our British heritage and our British brand,” he says. “To honour that, you have to be involved with a very high standard of manufacturing in Britain. There would be cheaper ways of going about things, but the British way stands for quality. Stoke-on-Trent has been producing beautiful plates for 200 years. So it works for us.”....Almost inevitably, the top floors of the South Audley Street flagship are to be turned into luxury flats. “Will we be able to afford a shop of this scale in the coming years?” says Sandelson. “I think the brand is bigger than the premises. I’m pursuing the dream on the basis that the building will be developed over time and we’ll hope to have a space within it.”
21st._century  brands  commercial_real_estate  entrepreneur  experiential_marketing  gift_ideas  heritage  history  homewares  London  luxury  middle_class  property_development  real_estate  retailers  restorations  revitalization  turnarounds  United_Kingdom  Victorian 
september 2018 by jerryking
GE and Siemens: power pioneers flying too far from the sun
November 12, 2017 | FT | by Ed Crooks in New York and Patrick McGee in Frankfurt.

Rivals GE and Siemens both face difficult challenges ahead with the threats emanating in the 21st century from the renewable energy revolution that risks rendering obsolete their century-old strengths in supplying equipment for the electricity industry.....As the costs of solar and wind power have plunged, making them cheaper than fossil fuel generation in many parts of the world, the traditional model of the industry has changed. Capital spending on the new technologies has soared. Battery storage is also starting to be a cost-effective solution for supporting the grid, challenging the market for “peaker” gas turbines that are used when demand is at its highest. Yet both groups have taken positions in renewable energy but have stumbled along the way.

The result is that GE and Siemens are being forced to drive down costs dramatically in their core power businesses. Siemens is looking to cut thousands of jobs in its power and gas unit....while both groups face a turbulent environment, the immediate outlook is considerably brighter at Siemens, which appears to be better positioned to adjust to the disruption sweeping through the energy industry....GE’s 2017 has been a disaster.....GE's CEO, John Flannery, has already moved fast to signal his intentions: clearing out many top executives, grounding corporate jets, stopping the cars provided to senior managers, cutting back the network of global research centres and promising to sell peripheral and underperforming businesses worth up to $20bn....GE's sales of aeroderivative gas turbines, used to support grids at times of peak load, were half the planned numbers, while sales of packages for improving the performance of gas-fired plants were just a third of projections.....“All major vendors got the market [i.e. for gas turbines] wrong,” ...The next big worry is servicing for turbines — once a gold mine but one that is bound to decline as new orders fall. With turbines being sold at no margin or sometimes at a loss, competition for servicing contracts is heating up, further eroding margins.

For the foreseeable future, the gas turbine market is likely to remain difficult,...“The question is whether this is just a cyclical problem, or whether there is something structural in the industry that is really starting to cause problems.”

There is good reason to think that it is structural, given the plunge in solar and wind costs. ... “a combination of rooftop solar and battery storage could make economic sense in India, African countries and other places where they don’t have well-developed power grids”......According to the IEA, in 2016 $316bn was invested in renewable energy worldwide last year, almost three times as much as the $117bn in fossil fuel power generation.....If Mr Flannery founders, then breaking up GE might come to seem like the only option left to investors. It would not magically dispel the problems of the business, and would be difficult because of the group’s complex tax position and liabilities, including insurance claims dating from before GE pulled out of the industry in 2004-2006.

To avoid a break-up, GE might follow the template Siemens created in 2014 for a more decentralised structure. Mr Kaeser calls it a “fleet of ships” model, with divisions becoming semi-autonomous and separately listed. Siemens’ largest division, its medical equipment unit, is scheduled to list next year.

“The time of old-fashioned conglomerates is over,” he says. “They are definitely not going to survive.”
CEOs  Siemens  GE  industrial_age  founders  19th_century  decentralization  conglomerates  renewable  obsolescence  solar  batteries  cost-cutting  turnarounds  divestitures  wind_power  under-performing  power_grid  electric_power 
november 2017 by jerryking
Best Buy’s Secrets for Thriving in the Amazon Age
SEPT. 18, 2017 | The New York Times | By KEVIN ROOSE.

Here are the keys to Best Buy’s turnaround, according to Mr. Joly:

1. Price, price, price

The most worrisome trend in big-box retail was “showrooming” .....To combat showrooming and persuade customers to complete their purchases at Best Buy, Mr. Joly announced a price-matching guarantee....Price-matching costs Best Buy real money, but it also gives customers a reason to stay in the store, and avoids handing business to competitors.

2. Focus on humans

Mr. Joly also realized that if Best Buy was going to compete with Amazon, which has spent billions building a speedy delivery system and plans to use drones to become even more efficient, it needed to get better at things that robots can’t do well — namely, customer service & customer experience....Best Buy fixed its internal product search engine. It also restored a much-loved employee discount that had been suspended and embarked on an ambitious program to retrain its employees so they could answer questions about entirely new categories of electronics, such as virtual reality headsets and smart home appliances.....Customers had always loved Best Buy’s Geek Squad.....sometimes, people needed help before they bought big and expensive gadgets. So it started an adviser program that allows customers to get free in-home consultations about what product they should buy, and how it should be installed....a pilot program last year, the service is now being rolled out nationwide.

3. Turn brick-and-mortar into showcase-and-ship

Best Buy’s online ordering system was completely divorced from its stores. If a customer placed an order on the website, it would ship from a central warehouse. If that warehouse didn’t have the item in stock, the customer was out of luck.....Mr. Joly realized that with some minor changes, each of Best Buy’s 1,000-plus big-box stores could ship packages to customers, serving as a mini warehouse for its surrounding area. Now, when a customer orders a product on Best Buy’s website, the item is sent from the location that can deliver it the fastest — a store down the street, perhaps, or a warehouse five states away. It was a small, subtle change, but it allowed Best Buy to improve its shipping times, and made immediate gratification possible for customers. Now, roughly 40 % of Best Buy’s online orders are either shipped or picked up from a store.

Best Buy also struck deals with large electronics companies like Samsung, Apple and Microsoft to feature their products in branded areas within the store. Now, rather than jamming these companies’ products next to one another on shelves, Best Buy allows them to set up their own dedicated kiosks. (Apple’s area inside a Best Buy, for example, has the same sleek wooden tables and minimalist design as an Apple Store.) It’s a concept borrowed from department stores, and it’s created a lucrative new revenue stream. Even Amazon has set up kiosks in Best Buy stores to show off its voice-activated Alexa gadgets.

4. Cut costs quietly

Almost every business turnaround plan includes cutting costs. Best Buy has used the scalpel as quietly as possible, gradually letting leases expire for unprofitable stores and consolidating its overseas divisions, trimming a layer of middle managers in 2014, and reassigned roughly 400 Geek Squad employees within the company. No public rounds of layoffs, which can crater employee morale and create a sinking-ship vibe.

Best Buy has also found more creative penny-pinching methods. Once, the company noticed that an unusually high number of flat-screen TVs were being dropped in its warehouses. It revamped the handling process, reducing the number of times TVs were picked up by a clamp lift and adding new carts to prevent TV boxes from falling over. The changes resulted in less broken inventory and bigger profits.

5. Get lucky, stay humble and don’t tempt fate

It’s lucky that the products it specializes in selling, like big-screen TVs and high-end audio equipment, are big-ticket items that many customers still feel uncomfortable buying sight unseen from a website. It’s lucky that several large competitors have gone out of business, shrinking its list of rivals. And it’s lucky that the vendors who make the products it sells, like Apple and Samsung, have kept churning out expensive blockbuster gadgets.

“They’re at the mercy of the product cycles,” said Stephen Baker, a tech industry analyst at NPD Group. “If people stop buying PCs or they don’t care about big-screen TVs anymore, they have a challenge.”

Mr. Joly knows that despite Best Buy’s recent momentum, it’s not out of the woods yet. To succeed over the long term, it will need to do more than cut costs and match prices. Walmart, another big-box behemoth, is investing billions of dollars in a digital expansion with the acquisition of e-commerce companies like Jet and Bonobos, and could prove to be a fierce rival. Amazon has been expanding into brick-and-mortar retail with its acquisition of Whole Foods, and is moving into Best Buy’s home installation and services market....
“Once you’ve had a near-death experience,” he said, “arrogance, if you had it in your bones, has disappeared forever.”
Amazon  Best_Buy  big-box  CEOs  turnarounds  pilot_programs  nationwide  contra-Amazon  brands  kiosks  cost-cutting  luck  Wal-Mart  Jet  Bonobos  pricing  showrooming  price-matching  customer_service  search_engines  in-home  BOPIS  Samsung  Apple  Microsoft  store_within_a_store  consumer_electronics  product_cycles  customer_experience 
september 2017 by jerryking
Steven Mnuchin’s Defining Moment: Seizing Opportunity From the Financial Crisis - WSJ
By RACHEL LOUISE ENSIGN, ANUPREETA DAS and REBECCA BALLHAUS
Updated Dec. 1, 2016.

Federal officials expected to suffer as much as $8 billion in losses from IndyMac. That left regulators looking for someone to take over the bank and mitigate the damage. Speed was essential, since the FDIC was bracing for a wave of additional bank failures.

Mr. Mnuchin assembled an all-star cast drawn from his years on Wall Street, including Mr. Soros, hedge-fund manager John Paulson, billionaire Michael Dell’s investment firm and several former Goldman executives, including J. Christopher Flowers. They signed up on the basis that Mr. Mnuchin would personally run the bank, according to people familiar with the matter.

By now, he knew that few bidders would be willing to buy all the failed bank’s assets. And he knew he was taking a giant risk.

At the end of 2008, Mr. Mnuchin persuaded the FDIC to sell IndyMac for about $1.5 billion. The deal included IndyMac branches, deposits and assets. The FDIC also agreed to protect the buyers from the most severe losses for years. That loss-sharing arrangement turned out to be a master stroke.
turnarounds  financial_services  Steven_Mnuchin  Goldman_Sachs  opportunistic  Carpe_diem  economic_downturn  vulture_investing  kairos  seminal_moments  rainmaking  defining_moments 
december 2016 by jerryking
MBA Mondays: Turning Your Team
August 12, 2013 | – AVC | Fred Wilson.

A serial entrepreneur I know tells me "you will turn your team three times on the way from startup to a business of scale." What he means is that the initial team will depart, replaced by another team, which in turn will be replaced by yet another team....Companies scale and the team needs to scale with it. That often means turning the team.

The "turning your team" thing probably makes sense to most people. But executing it is where things get tricky and hard. How are you going to push out the person who built the first product almost all by themselves? How are you going to push out the person who brought in the first customer? How are you going to tell the person who managed your first user community so deftly that their services are no longer needed by your company?

And when do you need to do this and in what order? It's not like you tell your entire senior team to leave on the same day. So the execution of all of this is hard and getting the timing right is harder.
advice  business  scaling  teams  start_ups  Fred_Wilson  turning_your_team  turnarounds  execution  judgment  serial_entrepreneur  think_threes 
october 2016 by jerryking
A Hard Turnaround for Software: Software Companies Caught in a Downward Spiral Find It Exceptionally Difficult to Escape. Yet a Determined Few Succeed
Summer 2002 |The McKinsey Quarterly By Blumling, Mark; Frick, Kevin A.; Meehan, William F.,, III

While executing a turnaround in any industry can be a difficult task, digging a software business ou...
category_killers  cost-cutting  downward_spirals  howto  increasing_returns_to_scale  McKinsey  software  switching_costs  turnarounds  winner-take-all  from notes
january 2015 by jerryking
Turnaround ace: Inside the Hunter Harrison era at CP Railway - The Globe and Mail
BY GORDON PITTS, PHOTOGRAPHS BY DERMOT CLEARY
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Apr. 24 2014
turnarounds  Gordon_Pitts  CP  railways 
april 2014 by jerryking
If I was...setting out to be an entrepreneur - FT.com
January 15, 2014 | FT | By Daniel Isenberg.

“Worthless Impossible and Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value”.

...If I were setting out as an entrepreneur today, I would buy an existing company to scale up rather than build a start-up from scratch. I would make incremental tweaks of improvement rather than innovate, exercise cool judgment rather than hot passion and build my departure plan from day one...a lot of great businesses, such as PayPal [the online payments system] and Kaspersky [the internet security company] are carved out of, or combined from, existing assets, or are family businesses taken sky-high by the second or third generation...Rather than start a new company, I would buy a rusty old business to fix up and grow as fast as I could. I want a discarded company that is undervalued but can be dusted off, refurbished with vision and talent, and scaled up. I would be talking to venture capitalists....I know that proprietary technology is not a market maker by itself. Great marketing and management almost always trump big innovation.

Minnovation – small tweaks on existing products – is what moves the ball of economic growth forward. Neither Facebook nor Google, for example, were technology pioneers.

Big innovations are few and far between and are often the stuff of large companies with long patience and deep pockets....Next, I would drain my venture of passion and replace it with commitment, hard work and realistic and relentless self-assessment....start with a stark test of harsh neon lights, exposing every flaw and crack long before the market does so that I can fix them before the customers vote with their feet....plan one's passionless departure from the start, creating a platform to allow the talented people and partners I hire to outperform me very soon.
entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  rules_of_the_game  unglamorous  books  Daniel_Isenberg  advice  howto  passions  exits  lessons_learned  turnarounds  contrarians  scaling  minnovation  undervalued  under-performing  carveouts  family_business  proprietary  incrementalism  self-assessment  customer_risk  breakthroughs  large_companies  vision  refurbished  spin-offs  hard_work  dispassion  marketing  management  commitments  marginal_improvements  unsentimental  outperformance 
january 2014 by jerryking
Kirchner Group expands in Canada with two senior hires - The Globe and Mail
BOYD ERMAN
Kirchner Group expands in Canada with two senior hires Add to ...
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The Globe and Mail

Published Friday, Jan. 17 2014,
Bay_Street  turnarounds  private_equity 
january 2014 by jerryking
Newton Glassman, a private man in the stressful world of private equity - The Globe and Mail
Dec. 06 2013 | The Globe and Mail| BOYD ERMAN.

Newton Glassman has spent the past 11 years running hard to build what has become Canada’s second-largest private equity firm....Mr. Glassman’s firm, Catalyst Capital Group Inc., now runs $4-billion of assets that it mostly puts to work in messy distressed situations, trying to take control of struggling companies and turn them around....Investing in distressed debt is a gritty, confrontational business. Mr. Glassman's firm typically buys bonds issued by a troubled company, spending countless hours searching for the securities that will provide the most influence, then tries to gain control when the company is restructured. The goal is to buy in cheap, seize power if necessary, fix the business and reap the rewards. It can be a rough job, because there is rarely enough money to go around and someone usually loses out.

When he was at Cerberus, founder Steve Feinberg warned him about the personal cost of building a firm, telling him: “There is a massive difference between being one of the key players and being THE guy in charge.”

Catalyst’s charitable arm also is building a knowledge centre that will work with universities to provide investors, lawyers and judges with more education about credit markets. Mr. Glassman has harsh words for the way credit markets sometimes work in Canada, as judges have sometimes upset the traditional order of restructurings...

Mr. Glassman says that at the time, he thought Mr. Feinberg was “just yakking.” But if he knew then what he knows now about building his own firm, he says he probably would have stayed at Cerberus. “The job of being the guy is if you take your responsibilities seriously, it is all encompassing.”
private_equity  Newton_Glassman  Bay_Street  Boyd_Erman  Catalyst  personal_cost  distressed_debt  turnarounds  Cerberus  vulture_investing  restructurings 
december 2013 by jerryking
Jeff Bezos's Tool Kit for Washington Post - WSJ.com
August 6, 2013 | WSJ | By KEACH HAGEY and GREG BENSINGER

Jeff Bezos's Tool Kit for the Post
Amazon Founder Brings Skills in Data Gathering, Software, E-Commerce


Mr. Bezos bought the paper in a personal capacity, many media-industry experts expressed optimism that the Amazon.com Inc. AMZN -1.23% founder will be able to apply to the Post the same software development, data gathering and e-commerce chops—as well as his patient investment philosophy—that turned his company into a powerhouse.

"Building audience, personalizing the offering, and, certainly, monetization," those are the core competencies that Jeff Bezos and Amazon have developed,
newspapers  turnarounds  software  e-commerce  data  Jeff_Bezos  WaPo  strategic_patience  core_competencies 
august 2013 by jerryking
A Turnaround Job Can Make Your Career If You Choose Wisely
Sep. 19, 1995 | WSJ | HAL LANCASTER.

It's an age-old dilemma: Saving a sinking ship can make a career; but some ships can't be salvaged, and a high-profile failure can scuttle a promising career. (Yes, I know failures aren't supposed to be fatal any more because companies realize what valuable learning experiences they are. If you want fairy tales, you'll have to look elsewhere.)

So when is it prudent to take on a tough turnaround assignment? ... And how would she advise others weighing the risks of a turnaround assignment? Research, research and research, she says, and then go with your gut instinct. ``There's a point at which you have enough information to act,'' she says. ``If you wait to get everything, you're too late.''

If that philosophy doesn't work for you, try this one, from Gen. Colin Powell's list of rules to live by, which Ms. Lewis keeps on her office wall: ``Don't let adverse facts get in the way of a good decision.''
career-defining_moments  career_ending_moves  Colin_Powell  collectibles  decline  due_diligence  failure  gut_feelings  Hal_Lancaster  Managing_Your_Career  risks  turnarounds  women 
february 2013 by jerryking
Big Changes Drive Small Carpet Firm - WSJ.com
October 30, 2006 | WSJ | By PHRED DVORAK
Theory & Practice
Big Changes Drive Small Carpet Firm
Hong Kong's Tai Ping Sets Global Growth on Overhaul In Management, Marketing

The small Hong Kong carpet maker hired an American chief executive who had never been to Asia and installed him in New York. It revamped its executive team, centralized marketing and acquired a high-end carpet maker in the U.S...."We're trying to create a minimultinational," says director John Ying, who helped push Tai Ping in its new direction.... small companies can -- and sometimes must -- globalize as much as big ones....
globalization  CEOs  Hong_Kong  small_business  howto  carpets  multinationals  microproducers  tips  marketing  strategy  management  turnarounds  metrics  managing_change 
february 2013 by jerryking
Rona’s new chairman vows ‘quick return’ to profit - The Globe and Mail
SOPHIE COUSINEAU AND BERTRAND MAROTTE

MONTREAL — The Globe and Mail

Published Monday, Jan. 21 2013
RONA  Quebec  turnarounds  retailers  hardware  overcapacity  big-box  Sophie_Cousineau 
january 2013 by jerryking
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment: ‘We are hitting the reset button’ - The Globe and Mail
GRANT ROBERTSON AND JACQUIE McNISH AND RITA TRICHUR AND DAVID SHOALTS

The Globe and Mail

Published Saturday, Jan. 12 2013
turnarounds  MLSE  BCE  Rogers 
january 2013 by jerryking
Creditors from hell
September 2005 | Chain Leader | by David Farkas
turnarounds  hedge_funds  creditors  due_diligence 
september 2012 by jerryking
Turnaround Management: Causes of Decline
Summer 1989 | Business Quarterly | Donald H. Thain & Richard Goldthorpe
turnarounds  Ivey 
september 2012 by jerryking
Turnaround Management: How to Do it
Winter 1990 | Business Quarterly | Donald H. Thain & Richard Goldthorpe
turnarounds  howto  Ivey 
september 2012 by jerryking
Turnaround Management: Recovery Strategies
Autumn 1989 | Business Quarterly | Donald H. Thain & Richard Goldthorpe
turnarounds  Ivey  strategies 
september 2012 by jerryking
Victor Palmieri Steps Up To The Plate Again -
November 10, 1991 | Business Week | by Peter Finch
turnarounds 
august 2012 by jerryking
Operational Expertise Makes the Difference
Fall 2004 | The Journal of Private Equity | Peter L. Tourtellot

In the last decade, companies in need of innovative change-agents learned to look outside their industries for new chief executives. These leaders were just what the companies needed: outsiders with a fresh perspective that
encourage strategic and organizational change. When a company is in distress. it needs to make drastic changes An industry outsider. with a wide range of operational experience is in the best position to get a handle on the root causes of trouble and identify applicable solutions from other industries that may never have occurred to the faltering company. Simply put. the need for industry experience in a turnaround situation is a myth. An industry outsider is the best source for the out-of-the-box thinking needed to reverse a company's decline.
turnarounds  execution  CEOs  private_equity  change_agents  industry_expertise  expertise  operations  outsiders  decline  out-of-the-box  fresh_eyes 
august 2012 by jerryking
Teaching Turnaround Management and Bankruptcy
Fall/Winter 1995 | Social Science Research Network | by Harlan D. Platt.

Students both need and want to learn how to restore distressed and dying companies. Business schools have a responsibility to both their students and to society to teach these skills. One factor holding back faculty who might have considered teaching a course on this topic is the lack of a textbook and any ancillary support material. This article discusses how several faculty members have successfully overcome this limitation. A short review of the techniques of turnaround management is also provided based on discussions with several practicing turnaround managers.
turnarounds  bankruptcies  teaching  business_schools  curriculum 
august 2012 by jerryking
Watermill Ventures
397010 HARVARD , Case (Field)
Watermill Ventures
Teaching Note: 398062
Watermill Ventures acquires and turns around an under-performing businesses. The case describes the criteria the company uses to identify acquisition candidates. its screening and selection process, and the way it introduces strategic thinking at the business it acquires. Steve Karol, Watermilll's founder, is concerned because the company has only acquired two companies in its three years of operation He is considering a number of actions, including establishing a Web site to broaden the base of contact.
Teaching Purpose: To expose students to a screening and selection process for acquiring companies, as well as the strategy development process used to turn them around and improve their performance.
Industry: acquisitions; steel
Issues: Acquisitions;Strategy formulation
Setting: Massachusetts, Alabama, 8 employees, $480 million revenues. 1993 Length: 21 page(s)
case_studies  turnarounds  HBR  under-performing  screening  buying_a_business  strategy  selection_processes 
august 2012 by jerryking
Prime time for corporate nurses
January 29, 1991 | Financial Post | by Barry Critchley and Susan Gittins
turnarounds  restructurings  recessions 
july 2012 by jerryking
Detroit wheel
July 1995 | Institutional Investor | by Hilary Rosenberg who profiles Jay Alix.
* Golden rules: scale down a company's cost structure to meet realistic revenue projections; never attempt revenue-driven turnarounds, which can collapse if the sales don't materialize.
private_equity  AlixPartners  turnarounds  Detroit  howto  golden_rules 
july 2012 by jerryking
Winning Back a Lost Customer, Marketing Methods
Sep 1, 1993 | Inc.com |Susan Greco.

Tips on handling the loss of a major client.

The hot debate: how to recover from the loss of a major client. The setting: a roundtable on customer service at this year's Inc. 500 conference, our annual get-together for the fastest-growing small companies.
customers  customer_appreciation  customer_churn  tips  enterprise_clients  customer_loyalty  small_business  customer_service  turnarounds  win_backs 
july 2012 by jerryking
Dell should listen - product recalls can be good
August 16, 2006 | Financial Times | NIRMALYA KUMAR and NADER TAVASSOLI

* Companies need to realise that such crises are about more than simply minimising legal liabilities. The challenge is not to allow a product recall to threaten the entire brand or company.
* Understandably, companies may feel threatened by a deluge of press inquiries, but speed and clarity of response is essential. The media may be converted into an ally, and internally it is vital to maintain staff morale. (JCK: the platform can help here).
* This team's priority should be immediately to assess the source and potential impact of the crisis. Who was hurt? Does it require free servicing, partial recall or total recall? Of course, preparation helps.
* The brand also needs to consider how to get back on its feet.
* A product failure is a moment of truth. A poorly managed response can unmask a brand promise as a hollow boast.
ProQuest  crisis  crisis_management  crisis_response  brands  branding  brand_purpose  Dell  failure  moments_of_truth  preparation  product_recalls  threats  turnarounds 
june 2012 by jerryking
Why Flush Financiers Court Unloved Businesses - WSJ.com
APRIL 9, 2007 | WSJ | By KAREN RICHARDSON and SERENA NG

Relatively Cheap Entries, Potential for Rich Exits Draw Bargain Hunters to the Turnaround Game.

Veteran financiers flush with cash are turning their sights on industries shunned by the stock market, tapping into tax benefits, newfangled loans and an ability to borrow far more money than public shareholders would tolerate.

...These deals offer a chance for successful restructuring of companies and industries struggling to meet the challenges of globalization, modern technology or economic cycles. As private enterprises, they can undertake union talks and financial restructuring outside the glare of public scrutiny and without worrying about the impact on small shareholders.
boring  Sam_Zell  turnarounds  Wilbur_Ross  restructurings  private_equity  privately_held_companies  financiers  vulture_investing  economic_cycles  unglamorous 
october 2011 by jerryking
Kodak Plunges After Company Taps Credit Line - WSJ.com
SEPTEMBER 27, 2011 | WSJ | By DANA MATTIOLI And MATT JARZEMSKY. Clock Ticks as Kodak Burns Cash
Shares Plunge 27% as Investors Worry Ailing Company Can't Pull Off Turnaround Plan
Kodak  Dana_Mattioli  turnarounds 
september 2011 by jerryking
Cohen and Giardino: The Empire State Can Rise Again - WSJ.com
JULY 23, 2011 By JONATHAN COHEN AND JOHN GIARDINO

The Empire State Can Rise Again
Upstate cities like Buffalo and Rochester were once powerhouses. They
can be again, if politicians encourage local entrepreneurship
New_York  revitalization  turnarounds  economic_development  out-migration  SUNY  Buffalo  entrepreneurship  upstate 
july 2011 by jerryking
The builder who revived a beloved brand brick by brick
Jul 18, 2011 FT. Andrew Ward. Jorgen Vig Knudstorp ; CEO Lego.
as head of the Danish toy maker, he helped restore the fortunes of a
national institution...Knudstorp saw that painful measures were needed
to turn the company around: layoffs, some mfg. was off shored to eastern
Europe & Mexico, and asset sales of theme parks & non-core
products....One of the hardest challenges for any CEO is to get to the
truth of what a biz is doing right & wrong - & to avoid
complacency when things are going well. Don`t dismiss the 1 % who
complain. Listen extra hard to that 1% because they usually represent a
much bigger proportion of silent unhappiness."

Lego tries to get at the truth by basing a large proportion of managers'
bonuses on customer satisfaction surveys of retailers, parents &
children...Knudstorp maintains a wide netwk of global business &
academic contacts from his time at McK and, before that, at biz schools
in Denmark, the UK & US, and describes himself an eclectic reader.
ProQuest  Lego  CEOs  Denmark  Danish  turnarounds  family-owned_businesses  theme_parks  toys  latent  hidden  complacency  customer_satisfaction  McKinsey  dissatisfaction  complaints  unhappiness 
july 2011 by jerryking
Failure Chronicles -
April 2011 Harvard Business Review by Roger McNamee,
Elevation Partners.

The idea behind Silver Lake was to create a new kind of private equity.
Instead of a typical financial engineering strategy of using high
leverage to squeeze cash out of mature companies, we focused on “midlife
venture capital”—helping mature tech companies create new products that
would transform their businesses. Our approach was based on two
insights: Mature tech companies had low valuations, and investors
overestimated the cost and complexity of product transformations. At any
other time, Silver Lake’s radical idea might have scared investors, but
in the spring of 1999, institutional investors—state pension plans, in
particular—were desperate to put money into the tech sector. It’s hard
to imagine better circumstances in which to test a new investment
strategy.
failure  private_equity  Silver_Lake  fallen_angels  midlife  turnarounds  vulture_investing  Roger_McNamee  insights  institutional_investors  valuations  technology  financial_engineering  transformational  overestimation  radical_ideas 
april 2011 by jerryking
Dick Parsons, Captain Emergency - BusinessWeek
March 24, 2011, 5:00PM EST text size: TT
Dick Parsons, Captain Emergency
Troubled outfits like Citigroup keep hiring Parsons because he's a master in the art of the relationship

By Devin Leonard
Richard_Parsons  African-Americans  profile  turnarounds  Citigroup  troubleshooting 
march 2011 by jerryking
Coffee Break: Starbucks CEO Talks Prices, McDonald's - WSJ.com
MARCH 7, 2011 By JULIE JARGON.Coffee Talk: Starbucks Chief on Prices, McDonald's Rivalry
Howard_Schultz  Starbucks  coffee  MacDonald's  turnarounds  CEOs 
march 2011 by jerryking
DeMaurice Smith Takes On the N.F.L. Owners - NYTimes.com
By SRIDHAR PAPPU
January 22, 2011

As a corporate lawyer at Patton Boggs, the high-powered Washington firm,
Mr. Smith dealt with companies that were either “in crisis or were
about to be.” As a candidate for the N.F.L.P.A. job, he composed what he
called “Playbook: An Enterprise Philosophy to Maximize the Business and
Political Interest of the N.F.L.P.A.” “About 60 percent of it,” he
said, “was envisioning what the chances were of a lockout and what to do
to prepare for it.”

It was a useful exercise. “The only bad thing is that everything we
thought and contemplated the league would do they’ve done,” Mr. Smith
said.
anticipating  creating_valuable_content  crisis_management  enterprise_clients  event-driven  labour  lawyers  negotiations  NFL  playbooks  preparation  sports  troubleshooting  turnarounds  unions 
january 2011 by jerryking
U.S. manufacturing makes quiet comeback - The Globe and Mail
MARTIN MITTELSTAEDT
Globe and Mail Update
Published Monday, Dec. 06, 2010
manufacturers  turnarounds  comebacks 
december 2010 by jerryking
For Love and Money
November 27, 2006 | Fortune Magazine | by Eugenie Levenson.
Includes references to other companies where the high net worth
individual bought the company (Channel Island Surfboards, Lionel trains,
Pr Iofessional Bowling Associations & Glaceau) for
“love”. Offers tips on avoiding Chapter 11 if a company is being bought
for “love”.
motorcycles  HBS  boating  turnarounds  filetype:pdf  media:document 
december 2010 by jerryking
How to Overhaul the U.S. Education System - WSJ.com
OCTOBER 30, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | by Michelle Rhee and
Adrian Fenty on what they learned while pushing to reform D.C.'s failing
public schools.
reform  Washington_D.C.  school_districts  Michelle_Rhee  Adrian_Fenty  public_schools  turnarounds  education 
october 2010 by jerryking
Tarnished Brands at Bargain Prices: Will the Tech Sector's Latest Growth Strategy Pay Off?
June 09, 2010 | Knowledge@Wharton | Anonymous. "...The big
difference between what's happening in the tech sector and a traditional
leveraged buyout is that there is little to no debt involved in the
recent tech deals." ..."The challenge for the acquirers is that they
have to integrate their targets and then create a new market or product
category. "
growth  strategy  mergers_&_acquisitions  M&A  technology  fallen_angels  post-deal_integration  tarnished_brands  turnarounds  new_products  new_categories 
june 2010 by jerryking
Distressed companies provide valuable lessons in economic downturns - The Globe and Mail
May 3, 2010 10:29 | Globe & Mail | Harvey Schachter .
Distressed companies provide valuable lessons in economic downturns.

SPEED RATHER THAN PERFECTION; CASH IS KING; FOCUS ON HIGH–IMPACT ISSUES;
MAKE THE TOUGH PEOPLE CALLS; UNFREEZE THE ORGANIZATION: Avoid CUT
FAT, NOT MUSCLE; FOCUS ON MORE THAN SURVIVAL:
Harvey_Schachter  distressed_debt  economic_downturn  lessons_learned  turnarounds 
may 2010 by jerryking
Detroit Schools on the Brink - WSJ.com
JULY 21, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | by By ALEX P. KELLOGG.
Shrinking District Heads Toward Bankruptcy to Gain Control of Its Costs.
A decision on whether to file for protection under federal bankruptcy
laws will be made by the end of summer, according to Robert Bobb,
Detroit Public Schools' emergency financial manager. Such a filing would
be unprecedented in the U.S. Although a few major urban school
districts have come close, none has gone through with a bankruptcy,
according to legal and education experts.
Detroit  turnarounds  bankruptcies  African-Americans  school_districts  public_education  schools 
may 2010 by jerryking
A Networking Pro Learns New Job-Search Tricks - WSJ.com
MARCH 2, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By JOANN S. LUBLIN. Forward this to Princess Alexander.
networking  social_networking  job_search  turnarounds  executive_management 
april 2010 by jerryking
Turnaround Expert Jerome York Dies 1938-2010
MARCH 19, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By STEPHEN MILLER and JOANN S. LUBLIN. Turnaround Expert Jerome York Dies at 71.
turnarounds  restructurings  automotive_industry  obituaries 
march 2010 by jerryking
'Transformation Officer' George Bailey Aims to Keep Sony on Track - WSJ.com
MARCH 18, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | by DAISUKE WAKABAYASHI. At Sony, 'Turbocharger' Drives to Cut Costs
Former Critic at IBM Turns Into a Transformation Chief to Help Restore Giant's Once-Lofty Status
Sony  turnarounds 
march 2010 by jerryking
The spin doctor of restructuring
March 16, 2010 | Financial Times | By Matthew Garrahan in Los Angeles. Profiles Mike Sitrick.
public_relations  entrepreneurship  restructurings  turnarounds  financial_communications  Communicating_&_Connecting 
march 2010 by jerryking
Sung Joo Kim and MCM's Eastern Makeover - WSJ.com
MARCH 13, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By ELVA RAMIREZ. MCM's Eastern Makeover
An ambitious South Korean businesswoman attempts to resurrect the faded luxury brand
fashion  South_Korean  entrepreneur  luxury  licensing  branding  turnarounds  retailers 
march 2010 by jerryking
Prepare for the deal making to commence
Nov. 24, 2009 | The Globe and Mail | ANDREW WILLIS. Send to Princess Alexander
turnarounds  Andrew_Willis  deal-making 
november 2009 by jerryking
Good Execution Beats a Bad Idea
Nov 23, 2009 | Fortune Vol. 160, Iss. 10; pg. 42 | by Mina
Kimes. "During my second year at Harvard Business School, I had a
fascinating professor named Gen. Georges Doriot. One of the things he
told me was, You're better off backing a mediocre idea that's
brilliantly implemented than a brilliant idea that's badly executed. My
Advice to You: 1. Reward Efficiency. 2. Ask the Right Questions. 3. Set a
Walking-Away Price 4. Don't Bet on a Recovery 5. Keep Your Cool 6.Study
Before You Leap
Wilbur_Ross  turnarounds  moguls  execution  rules_of_the_game  tips  Georges_Doriot  questions  thinking_tragically  dispassion  preparation  reservation_prices  HBS  efficiencies  asking_the_right_questions 
november 2009 by jerryking
Remaking London’s Fashion Scene - WSJ.com
SEPTEMBER 18, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | by PAUL SONNE. Can
London Get Its Groove Back? Harold Tillman wants to revamp the city's
design scene. His first big test is upon him
turnarounds  moguls  fashion  retailers  London  United_Kingdom 
november 2009 by jerryking
Dear Detroit - The Globe and Mail
Oct. 30, 2009 | Report on Business Magazine | by Christopher
Shulgan. (1) Seize the Electric Movement, (2) Be Open Source, (3) Take
the hassle out of buying , (4) Don't Give Up on Gas, (5) Make it Easier
to Charge it.
automotive_industry  open_source  turnarounds  Local_Motors  electric_cars 
october 2009 by jerryking
Dear Detroit - The Globe and Mail
Oct. 30, 2009 | Report on Business Magazine | by Christopher
Shulgan. (1) Seize the Electric Mooment, (2) Be Open Source, (3) Take
the hassle out of buying , (4) Don't Give Up on Gas, (5) Make it Easier
to Charge it.
automotive_industry  open_source  turnarounds  Local_Motors  electric_cars 
october 2009 by jerryking
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