In the future, the interconnection of creditors, lenders and institutional creditors will open up new perspectives. Mediator skills consisting of social competence, communication strength, persuasiveness, economic and technical competence, coupled with visionary leadership and in-charge industry experience are strengths that are required for transformation and turnaround management.
Since 2017, together with Rüdiger Tibbe, a new type of Executive Interim C-suite for Transformation & Turnaround Management has been pushing to the top. This transforming elite - in their roles as Chief Restructuring Officer, Chief Transformation Officer, Chief Development Officer - appears less spectacularly and quietly adds crucial elements to the turnaround horizon.
Today, they are involved almost everywhere and help companies that cannot perform at the absolute limit. Their distinctive characteristic is the execution of holistic concepts vs. partial solutions only, such as window dressing, refinancing and balance sheet massaging!
"Only a very small, hand-picked group of CROs are eligible at all when it comes to the larger restructuring cases in Germany."
For a long time, this niche industry sector was defined by the grand seigneurs of restructuring as purely financial and balance sheet restructuring, respectively. However, their shine is fading and their like-minded network on the part of the recommending stakeholders is giving way to the new generation, acting in a more contemporary way. And these rookies bring people they trust into play and jointly change transformation and turnaround methods for good. After all, the long-term results of the grand seigneurs are limited; in the past, purely financial restructuring often led to restructuring loops. In most cases, the actual causes of the crisis were not eliminated. That is why many stakeholders involved in restructuring and turnaround see managers like Rüdiger Tibbe who represent holistic and sustainable solutions at the top of the new transformation and turnaround management elite.
„Transformation and turnaround management will only be successful if there is close interaction between strategic repositioning, operational performance and financial viability.“
Excelliance manager Rüdiger Tibbe knows his way around the manufacturing industry. He understands how to deal with employee emotions, reads customer concerns, masters financial engineering, is aware of roadblocks in the product development process, senses shortcomings in the production system and is regarded as a turnaround specialist who describes himself as a people person, respectful and at the same time clear in the expression of objectives, especially when dealing with employees, shareholders and management.
These new Executive Interim C-suites for Transformation & Turnaround Management appear modest, similar to young start-up entrepreneurs. It is better not to be misguided by the reserved gesture. The influence of these CROs has increased dramatically.
When new financing terms are agreed upon with banks, the new business model is forged with owners, future working models are negotiated with works councils and trade unions, careers are decided with management, it is Executive Interim C-suites like Tibbe who do far more than advise on finance by suggesting a few balance sheet shifts or refinancing of loans. That would be way too short of a leap for them! They are often the architects and builders of the new companies - or at least operational engineers of the builders. This new breed of CROs takes on tasks that used to be the domain of management executives and management consultants. The reason for the shift in responsibility is easy to pinpoint: This new generation has mastered pojects in an engineering-like filigree work and, with their focus on execution, has ignited the next stage after top management consulting, thus also reaching the zeitgeist. And, this only as a side note, they are able to proceed similarly mercilessly as executive managers or shrewd management consultants, earlier.
Rüdiger Tibbe is the jack-of-all-trades in the new breed of CROs. In 2001, he founded his Excelliance Industry Taskforce and prior to that his family office as a financial holding company with various long-term industry investments. Tibbe is a former Bavarian champion in downhill skiing, loves blue water sailing on his 60 foot yacht and plays the guitar in his band „Lieschen Müller & The Wornout Underwear“.
He compares turnaround management with the just hired player-coach of a soccer club, who on his first assignment is immediately in the final for relegation and now in a penalty shootout. Nobody is interested in the preliminary skirmish anymore. Now it's all about winning, securing the relegation, turning the club around, securing the company.
„It's all about speed and precision. Every single pass has to be perfect, every shot has to be 100% on target.“
His statement at the beginning of each new project, a turnaround is like a vacation for him, is intellectually difficult for some to comprehend. Others think it's just a joke. What he really means? He has found his vocation in transformation and turnaround management. Consequently a turnaround can‘t be stress, it’s charging him up with energy, like vacation for others.
CRO teams are making good money, in return a lot of commitment is required. „A turnaround is not an esoteric wellness program with relaxed wining and dining. Especially at the beginning of a project, the atmosphere can be extremely tense, unforeseen incidents occur at any time, customers are nervous, employees are paralyzed, stakeholders are suspicious. In this early, volatile situation, we have to be ready at any time to intervene immediately.“
With our fee levels, clients and their stakeholders expect from me above all: „No consultant language, no paper concepts. A CRO must get straight to the bottom of the matter in a clear and understandable way, come up with solutions that are implemented immediately, and make things happen, now.“ Tibbe, who is a quick thinker and an assertive negotiation strategist whom practically all clients find "very obliging and nice," is always looking for win-win-situations. In meetings, he listens, holds back, and then presents the solution to the problem that the company has previously discussed at length. He likes to leave his negotiators alone in the room to give them the necessary time and opportunity to intellectually penetrate the issue.
„Stakeholders of troubled companies freak out if I, like lawyers, auditors and other professional pessimists, always just point out where the risks are and what can't be done." Tibbe, and the CROs in his class, are hired because they deliver clear recommendations in situations of high uncertainty - while providing maximum certainty to their clients. "That's what we are here for and by the way, this is the only way you can successfully pull off a turnaround!" says Tibbe.
His approachability, together with hands-on pragmatism and fast solutions, are Tibbe's secret to success. He manages to win over virtually everyone, from the CEO to the receptionist at his client companies.
He motivates the team to always act proactively with any challenge, to face problems head on, to enforce decisions. Distressed organisations find themselves often in a decison backlog with managers, who refrain from being visible to employees, who freeze in mechanical monotony because of insecurity, who - completely frustrated - speak and say nothing, who are seen and are not present, who see and have no vison, who hear and are not listening.
The newcomers may seem casual, but in fact they act with a fixed focused on success. A close confidant tells about Tibbe: "He pushes himself constantly, is always just at the limit! He doesn't demand anything from others that he wouldn't do himself. That's how he inspires himself and his teams to continuous peak performance!"
To express this also acoustically, Tibbe's mobile phone plays since decades "Rock'n Roll" by his all-time favorite band Led Zeppelin.