Cover Story: Mergers & Aquisitions
Hit and Run
Hiring an interim executive during a merger or acquisition is one way to infuse the new entity with immediate knowledge.
Recruiting a key financial executive or member of the financial management team can be a long, arduous process. Recruiting financial executives specifically to consolidate enterprises during an M&A can result in significant up-front delays - and excess talent once the integration is complete.
The solution? Hire objective, experienced interim financial executives to assimilate the two financial systems, extract the best practices from each and help them evolve into a single, exceptional structure. That these executives may be overqualified for the interim position is a plus.
Clearly, the CFO and financial management team have specific, one-time needs unique to the integration process. Therefore, they don't need to lock into people who want long-term employment. Rather, they can broaden their scope by using interim talent with specific M&A experience who can quickly assess a situation, identify opportunities and create and apply the right solutions at the right time - all based on parallel previous experience. Once the consolidation is complete, interim executives move on.
The only recruiting criterion is whether the candidates have the skills to accomplish specific objectives to move the two merging entities forward. Unlike traditional practices in recruiting for long-term positions (focusing on total professional background), successful guns for hire only need a track record in the particular areas that need to be implemented. They understand that their success is measured by their results. And the value they deliver through the timely completion of a project far outweighs their cost.
For instance, following a merger, a Fortune 500 manufacturer of a consumer product line decided to launch a new global sourcing system. An interim project leader served as the liaison among the project team, consultants and the management team. He helped the company reduce the cycle time associated with the launch and full deployment of the new sourcing system from 18 months to 13 months. Although the company paid him about $150,000, it realized $1.2 million in productivity gains.