Reinventing Risky Acquisitions


The global certification company known for the quality of its analytical testing and supply chain due diligence had pursued and finalised a number of acquisitions across the region to build on its history and potential for future growth. However, the company's regional Chief Financial Officer failed to execute the same, rigorous analysis in terms of qualifying the company's acquisition targets and the veracity of their financial performance claims.

This left the company with a trail of increased debt, product lines that were not generating profits, and disillusioned employees, ultimately leading to a series of layoffs and the dismissal of the regional Chief Financial Officer.

These acquisitions proved especially risky and required new leadership, the unification of corporate strategy with regional business practices, and a new Finance leader who could instill trust at the local and global levels of the enterprise.

The company's regional Chief Executive Officer, together with its regional Chief Human Resources Officer, understood quite clearly in the aftermath of what had been a rush and premature spate of ill-advised acquisitions that they needed a regional CFO capable of partnering to turn-around the failing elements of the new portfolio and create a dynamic new corporate strategy all could buy into.


In order to develop a consensus on the required next steps following the ouster of the previous regional CFO, our team engaged the company's leadership in a series of difficult conversations about the genesis of the ill-researched acquisitions and the elements of their respective cultures, which were quite varied.

We leveraged our proprietary TRANSEARCH Orxestra® Method to engage the senior executive team in an exercise to examine the causes of the ill-timed acquisitions and chart a course for a new business strategy in the region. Rather than be bound by the company's history, the team decided to forge a dynamic new strategy and a vision of how the cultures of these acquired companies could strengthen the corporate base.

It became clear that the next regional CFO would need to be a keen listener, a pragmatist yet also an inspiring strategist. The need to turn around the failing acquisitions was urgent, so the team needed a leader with a bias toward action, with some special care and nurturing for the handful of acquisitions that were beginning to prove their value over within the global corporate enterprise. In personal terms, the regional CEO and CHRO needed someone they could trust, but also someone who could be trusted by the employee base across the region. People were, after all, seeking ideas, unity and a way forward.
Our extensive search effort was focused on highly qualified candidates from within the region at the direction of our client's management team. We conducted a battery of behavioral interviews focused on how candidates made decisions in the past, how they wrestled with conflict, the resources they required and their ability to influence outcomes. We took each candidate on a deep dive regarding corporate culture and their ideas for stringing together multiple teams in a vision with shared values and commonly aligned business priorities.

Ultimately, our work was rewarded through the appointment of a candidate we recruited from a larger, globally respected corporation who had offered a compelling capacity to turn things around in the region and a commitment to unify the cultures binding employees across many different countries.


In order to give our client's new regional Chief Financial Officer the very best opportunity to understand the details of the operation and those of its recent acquisitions, we partnered with its management team in the development of a significant on-boarding plan with monthly follow-up coaching to support his work and navigate feedback from stakeholders.
We also coached the new regional CFO with the insight of others from the global management team.
They urged the new Finance chief to stand firm with the company's new post-acquisition plan even in the face of considerable questioning from global peers. Although he hadn't gotten them into trouble, he would assume all the pressures with finding solutions.

Some insiders desired the regional CFO be the catalyst for change and transformation globally, which therefore required leadership with both political sensitivity and bold determination not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Now was the time to demonstrate - through actions and influence - that holding steady to a new regional strategy could pay dividends locally and serve as a launch point for new conversations and, potentially, a new corporate culture on the global stage.


Our client believes its new regional CFO is making exactly the kind of impact they hoped he would. He has indeed become a trusted partner to the regional CEO and CHRO. Further, the chemistry he has developed with the leaders of the acquired companies that had been struggling, and which now with his help were on the road to profits and business opportunities, was clear to see - in terms of culture and business results.

The client has since rewarded our TRANSEARCH team with several new search assignments, including a number that will also help shape the future of its regional business and its identity in the eyes of customers and employees alike.

Another upside for our client is its new-found ability to recruit exceptional new Finance talent, including a number of candidates who want to work with and learn from the individual who helped turn this regional story around to success.

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