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2019-04-doc5 Turnaround Management

A decade ago, none of us could have imagined just how much business and economic dimensions we would see in the restructuring and insolvency industry world of today. It may be bad news for the companies affected; however, we could not have imagined the creativity and dedication of schol­ars and practitioners in the field in presenting broader perspectives and leg­islation or the practice growing closer and converging. It may be bad news for the lawyers, as they have to get themselves acquainted with non-traditional legal subjects and develop certain skills. Many of the lawyers I know, however, fully embrace their renewing thinking and working environment where an alignment of legal approaches is since a few years is becoming visible over time. Where the world indeed grows smaller every day, legislations converge to common positions, at least on several key points. Against the backdrop of the recent financial crisis, the past years have witnessed developments of a stunning speed and sophistication in the attempt to find suitable responses to a widely endorsed policy of rescuing economically viable but financially distressed businesses. The EU Restructuring Directive, to be fully accepted in a few weeks is just a signpost underway.

This European (even worldwide) gulf will roll out in the coming years. It will not so much shake, but surely stir business advisors, legislators, insolvency practitioners, and judges. It will require these advisors and turnaround managers to deepen their knowledge and skills to assist corporate management. Along the way, influenced by US Chapter 11 and its feature of keeping the business management in place (‘debtor in possession’), insolvency and restructuring professionals are seeking better ways to enhance value preservation. As a result, consensual turnaround and restructuring ahead of insolvency is becoming Europe’s new default position, Alan Tilley, in his recent book on Turnaround Management, argues.

It is a down to earth, practical book drawing upon the author’s 25 years’ experience in turnaround management. It guides the reader through the key issues including the role of turnaround managers in business rescue, basic requirements for a successful turnaround, identifying viable business elements and eliminating loss-making sectors and excess cost. The book is a very useful tool when addressing underlying business problems, managing managers’ overconfidence, developing a turnaround business plan, identifying a revised strategy and what it needs to get the management team to implement these plans, including some war stories, e.g. La Seda de Barcelona. The importance of stakeholder management is emphasised and covers the role of creditors, suppliers, customers and employees, as well as a comprehensive explanation of how new sources of finance.

Although an interesting read for lawyers, they should be aware that the author could have done much better (confusing the Insolvency Regulation Recast and the ‘directive’, issued in ‘2015’, and mentioning that the Netherlands ‘has introduced’ new legislation with a version of UK’s scheme of arrangement, the unexplained Appendix with Guidelines and Policy Recommendations). However, for the non-legal stuff, the book has enough to offer: the benefit of a practical explanation of many topics of turnaround, including experiences regarding conflict management and stressing the importance of independent, unconflicted professional advice.

Alan Tilley, Turnaround Management. Unlocking and Preserving Value in Distressed Business. Globe Law and Business 2019. ISBN 9781787421684

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Note: this book I received free of charge from the publisher with the request to announce it or to review it on my blog at