Eton Bridge Partners introduced one such turnaround and restructuring specialist from their associate network called Jeremy Fry. Jeremy was able to constructively challenge both the equity fund and the portfolio business through a series of meetings to help them identify the broader challenges and questions to be addressed.
This process helped the PE fund realise that a bigger change was required and instead of bringing on board a Transformation Director, they opted to bring in an Interim CEO with a transformation mandate.
The approach taken by the Interim CEO was one of a systematic review of the business processes, finance and operations, sales, marketing and technology. The opportunity was to streamline the business activity to reduce cost, and more importantly to establish a business capable of winning lost customers back, and improving the revenue outlook. The technology project involved the implementation of a new front end to support customer engagement and Microsoft ERP (Dynamics Finance and Operations).
As part of the initial diagnostic evaluation, the Interim CEO raised with the Board and investors that the spectre of ‘going-concern’ was the inability of the business to meet certain interest payments around the debt coupon. This was an unexpected element of the project which brought conflict in to the various stakeholders, resulting in the appointment of advisors by the company to support an options review, and to determine a course of action to mitigate and resolve the ‘going concern’. This brought into sharp relief Directors duties ensuring that proper checks and balances were in place for all stakeholders.
Throughout this, the Interim CEO and Eton Bridge Partners were in regular contact in what was an unexpected, and extremely challenging project.