Successful restructuring with an experienced CFO

Situation

The group is a traditional company in Switzerland with the business areas mineral oil trade, gasoline stations and garages (partly in Germany), real estate and a service center. Accelerating market changes opened immediate opportunities for structural change for the company. For strategic reasons, the Board of Directors decided to withdraw from the automobile trade. Lack of profitability and poor prospects were the drivers behind this decision. This exit meant a radical restructuring of the Group, which left practically no areas unaffected. With the existing management team such a radical change would not have been possible.

The company was looking for a CFO ad interim with experience in both M&A and corporate restructuring. Core tasks were: Handling of sales transactions (asset deals), restructuring of the remaining legal entities, establishment of a real estate management, outsourcing of IT and restructuring of the finance department.

Action

The exit meant a comprehensive restructuring of the entire company, and the interim manager brought on board was given a whole range of tasks: The assumption of the CFO position during the entire restructuring period of about 1½ years. To accompany and support the sale of the automotive division in the form of several asset deals. Linked to the sale of the division was the successful and timely completion of a major construction project for a garage, as well as the division and reorganization of the pension fund. Furthermore, a future use of the garage real estate remaining with the company had to be found. Due to the resignation of the former CFO and the emerging perspectives after the reorganization, several long-time employees from the finance and real estate sector decided to leave the company. It was a particular challenge in filling the positions to reconcile the objectives of the restructuring and the long-term downsized financial organization.

Results

All objectives of the restructuring process were achieved on time. In many areas the specific experience of the interim manager paid off. The sub-projects could be tackled and completed quickly and without frictional losses. The handover to the successor was timely and structured. This ensured that the knowledge gained during the restructuring phase could be passed on and that outstanding issues could be further worked on.

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Urs Tannò