Deal Value Architect, PwC United Kingdom
I have 20 years of experience as an advisor and executive in the Financial Services sector. I advise businesses looking for organic growth or solutions for disruption or distress. I’ve managed businesses going through large structural transformation, ran a corporate venture fund during the technology boom of the late 90s, and have also been an interim executive.
Most of my career has been in financial services, including American Express in the US, and GE Capital in Europe. At Amex, the focus was to chase growth and innovation; at GE Capital, the job went from driving profitability via aggressive organic and inorganic strategies, to mitigating risk exposures managing an efficient exit from a huge number of complex businesses in a very short time.
I set up and ran a corporate venture fund for Amex in New York during the late ‘90s. They wanted to kick-start innovation and they had the foresight to realise they’d do this better and faster if it was outside the ‘big corporate’ framework. GE Capital, on the other hand, was an effective M&A machine, driving growth via large-cap deals and JVs across Europe.
I had the chance to run GE Capital business transformation program in the Russian market during the commodity boom. We started with corporate lending supporting other parts of GE to do deals in Russia and then expanded into consumers to support the strong Russian middle class appetite for credit. But after the financial crisis in 2007, GE made the strategic decision to exit most of the capital businesses.
Realising that the subprime and financial crisis would trigger a wave of large scale transformation within the financial sector in Europe, I decided to rejoin the advisory industry focusing on financial institutions facing discretionary and nondiscretionary change. In that capacity, I had the chance to support financials institutions in the UK, Ireland, Iceland, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece. In that capacity we supported supervisory boards, senior managers, creditors and regulators.
More recently I have been assisting sponsors, acquiring financial services businesses and credit portfolios, ensuring the businesses bought were successfully carved out from the seller, and properly set up and managed to deliver the expected returns.
There have been some consistent themes across all these roles; maximising profitability, mitigating risks and losses, establishing the right controls, simplifying businesses, developing new operating models, building new management teams and encouraging a new mindset. By that I mean being more agile, creative, effective and realistic; which for some businesses, is a dramatic shift from the business they used to be.
Throughout my career, change has always being part of the agenda. Whether that’s a new strategic direction, a business deleveraging, a more refined plan focused on cash, an operational transformation underpinned by a separation/carve out and management change, the key is to make a good plan to be executed fast.
My role as a Deal Value Architect is to support clients navigate all stages of the business cycle, and every aspect of the deal cycle, from planning, to execution, to integration and beyond. From transaction to transformation. And the transformation part is by far the hardest and most critical one to realise the value creation plan. And as it has been proved again and again, the biggest value is brought after the ink is dry.