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Permanent, Interim & Non-Executive Directors and Senior Management Recruitment.

Performance Improvement Practice

It is widely accepted that since the demise of leverage in 2008 businesses – especially those backed by private equity – have had to focus on value creation through operational excellence & transformation in order to achieve growth & good returns.

It is clear, however, that delivering transformation to achieve the growth in value demanded by the PE model appears remains a tough nut to crack. To rely on the ability of incumbent executive & non executive management alone is rarely sufficient and there are limits as to how many changes it is safe to make over the life cycle of an investment. Equally, few would assume that the input of PE investor brainpower alone is likely to have an optimum impact on the creation of value.

At PILOTpartners, through our recent experience of working with three very different, innovative UK clients, we have developed a powerful but flexible model which optimises performance improvement. We call this our “Performance Improvement Panel.

Broadly speaking “PIP” works like this:
PIP is predicated on investors & management needing regular access to high level senior talent across all sectors, disciplines and territories.

The work to be performed will typically cover the following:

  • Executive or Non Executive appointments at short notice;
  • Commercial due diligence – UK & international – including sector advisory, investment viability & exit optimization;
  • Restructuring – analysis of top line growth and cost reduction opportunities;
  • Project management – 100 Day plans, acquisition integration, restructuring, disposals etc;
  • Mentoring management teams through crises or general advisory;
  • Acting as observers/mentors in and around the board without taking formal appointments;
  • Support and/or positive direction to management in setting strategic goals, KPI’s etc;

Rather than introducing such talent as and when they become available in an ad hoc and unstructured manner, we have created a bespoke panel of senior executives from which we hand pick for each client portfolio with strong experience in the sectors and/or territories in which funds are likely to be invested.
The PIP is resourced as a discreet, flexible group from principles as set out by the client. The panel members are not salaried and remain self employed. They sign NDA’s (including the need to avoid potential conflicts with other investors) and are deployed as and when needed. They are paid on whatever basis is appropriate for the situation in question but normally based on value created including equity if relevant / available.
The primary criterion for selecting these individuals is that they should have demonstrable experience of DRIVING PEFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT within defined timescales in businesses they have managed or chaired.

Even though the business may be perfectly healthy, a background of success in transition and restructuring has been seen to work particularly well because of:

  • The pressure to deliver a viable plan quickly (e.g. a 100 Day plan);
  • The need to achieve quick wins to achieve stakeholder, management & senior staff buy-in to new ownership;
  • The need to understand stakeholder relationships especially under stressful conditions;
  • To have a clear head and focus when an exit is in view.

In summary, the overarching intent is to give independent executives access to our clients whereby a long term relationship can be built so that they can instigate business improvement quickly.
Depending on the number of likely transactions, these panels could comprise between as few as 5 individuals and as many as 15 or more in number. The format is largely informal but the client-panel relationships develop quickly and intensively. This is quite different from having to hire separate individuals such as ‘operating partners’ & ‘external advisors’ at various stages in the lifespan of a portfolio business, a process which can take ages, becomes expensive and where the individual would be less well known or familiar with the client’s objectives and house style.

PILOTpartners has also successfully managed specialist panels of independent executives for major firms of chartered accountants for many years. From a practical perspective, therefore, PIP is a remarkably similar service.

For more information about our Performance Improvement service please contact:

Contact Michael Gebauer
T: +44 (0)783 423 5458
E: m.gebauer@pilotpartners.eu

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