What makes you unique?
I'm an attorney myself and that usually shortens the channels of communication with other lawyers. I've been a workout officer in one of the largest commercial banks, a general partner in a distressed-company buyout fund, and I've taken on various C-level operating positions in diverse industries faced with a variety of challenges. I'm also a certified fraud examiner and an approved fiduciary in New York State. Most of the counterpart doesn't even come close to the breath of practical experience I bring to an engagement.
Do you do all this yourself?
Yes and no. I am always the primary point person and the daily interaction is between the principal and me. In some cases I'll bring in additional personnel to fill specific financial or operating roles.
How do you approach employees, who are typically worried that the company is about to close?
There's a time for transparency, especially if a team needs to support a turnaround plan. However, in the very beginning of the relationship it's usually better to be disarming. I try not to look like a typical suit and I?m usually introduced as a friend and advisor of the principal. As in any relationship, trust is earned. I've been successful telling it the way it is and when certain information can't be revealed I make an effort to provide employees with a time when I can answer all of their questions.
What's the length of a typical engagement?
It depends on the engagement. A restructuring of the balance sheet and/or reorganization of operations could take 1-3 months. A company operating in bankruptcy usually requires a bit more time driven mainly by the parties involved.
How are you compensated?
I try to be flexible and creative in an effort to align success with that of the principal. Initially I work off of a retainer based upon a per diem or per hour rate. By law, a bankruptcy would require an hourly rate, with payment approved by the court.
Don't you need specific industry experience for each client?
Although there is value in having specific industry experience, most of the challenges faced by distressed businesses are universal. Surmounting these challenges requires a skill-set developed from being involved with the various stakeholders and situations in a workout or bankruptcy. That's the key difference between an industry consultant and a restructuring professional.