The Institute for Turnaround annual conference, recently described by Channel 4 Chairman Luke Johnson as, “a well-timed affair,” took as its theme, ‘TURNAROUND! It’s a Perfect Storm’.
Among the speakers was Philip Davidson, KPMG’s UK restructuring advisory group head, who has just been appointed chairman at the Institute for Turnaround. He said, “I think we’ve got two storms going at least. We’ve got the credit crunch that people have been talking about for the last year or so and the impact on the financial markets of what comes next in the credit crunch and that really depends on what continues to happen in the United States. If a big name runs into trouble in the US or two or three then the reverberations in the European market are going to be very real and they will continue for many more months.”
Mr Davidson’s remarks were made in a short film that opened the conference on September 11. Since then, we have seen Lehman Brothers bankrupt, Merrill Lynch rushed into an agreement to be acquired by Bank of America, AIG rescued, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley plan to become regulated bank holding companies and US Treasury Secretary Paulson’s proposed $700bn ‘troubled asset relief programme’. Closer to home, the government has just moved to nationalise the mortgage business of Bradford & Bingley.
Other predictions made in the film include:
• Rapid increase in unemployment will cut off the consumer boom
• Increased slowdown in government expenditure which has been a major driver of the UK economy
• The turnaround community will have its work cut out for the next 2 – 3 years
• This time…we might just be going off the edge. Everything is happening by the week rather than the month or quarter like last time
• The downturn we’ll be seeing in the next few months has no parallels
On a more positive note, turnaround experts also predicted that, ‘good companies; good banks, will manage to see their way through it’. Channel 4 Chairman Luke Johnson, who spoke at the conference, recently likened Institute for Turnaround members to, “corporate firefighters…unsentimental yet almost heroic…” Writing in the Financial Times, he said. “We are entering a phase where many organisations will stumble…A portion will not make it, but for others, the experience will unleash new vigour, new ambitions, new talents. We must march with the times or die,” said Mr Johnson.
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1. The Institute for Turnaround (IFT) is Europe’s leading professional body for the whole Turnaround Community. IFT was founded in 2000 as The Society of Turnaround Professionals. We have a membership of rigorously accredited turnaround executives, advisers and corporate partners representing the best in law turnaround expertise.
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