Goodstone Group’s coaches have in-depth experience in mergers and acquisitions. Our coaches have provided coaching to leaders operating in pre- and post-M&A environments. We have provided one-on-one coaching to key leaders of acquiring organizations and highly valued leaders of acquired companies; leaders in pre-M&A planning stages and leaders working on building trust in post-acquisition settings. We have also worked with leaders in turning around flawed PMI strategy. Many of our coaches have worked with senior teams or multiple leaders collectively responsible for all elements of M&A and PMI.
Additionally, several of our coaches have hands-on experience as senior leaders managing through post-merger integration. Some of the roles our coaches have filled include:
- COO, later made CEO, of healthcare management firm that grew rapidly through multiple acquisitions
- President of North American division of a global oil company and member of UK-based global management team which acquired several smaller companies in North America and Europe
- Global VP of Organizational Effectiveness for a Fortune 50 financial services firm that sold its IT division to global IT company
- SVP of Human Resources for a large natural resource company that acquired several smaller companies
- Partner in IT services firm acquired by global staffing company
- Director of IT Technical Support at a large financial services firm that acquired a technology start-up and a ‘white shoe’ investment firm
Below are select examples of our coaching work.
► Key leaders within acquiring organizations
CEO of the Northwest Region of large non-profit hospital system
This healthcare system had recently acquired and integrated several independent non-profit hospitals. The newly appointed Regional CEO relocated to the hospital system’s corporate office. While a successful hospital administrator, he had not faced the challenges of assuming a much larger executive job. In addition, several presidents of the smaller integrated hospitals now reported to him.
Coaching focused on helping the leader understand the role of a senior executive and helped him develop new skills to manage and lead sophisticated leaders. The coach also supported the leader to effectively integrate these new leaders into the larger hospital, with particular attention to cultural issues.
General Manager of Fortune 50 global technology company
When the company acquired two smaller start-ups in Europe to build a new line of business, the GM became responsible for running the two acquired companies as subsidiaries. The leader wanted to maintain a ‘start-up’ culture while simultaneously implementing corporate programs.
Coaching supported the leader to retain key talent as well as have difficult conversations with staff that had competing views of the integration of technology platforms. This was the company’s second attempt to create this product line, so coaching also focused on managing CEO expectations with respect to profit growth, and working on influence and persuasion skills to secure support for the new strategy around the product offering. Meanwhile, the leader continued to manage key clients and create a ‘seamless client service’ offering across multiple regions, languages and technology platforms.
COO and potential successor to the CEO of large retail clothing company
Having just completed a major acquisition, the company brought in this COO to transform the combined culture. Within days of being hired, the executive was asked to assume direct responsibility for the nationwide sales and retail store operation, without the opportunity to assess the organization, its structure, and the potential for the COO role. Although he increased sales over a two-year period, he alienated peers on the executive committee and developed a reputation for high turnover.
With coaching, he developed and strengthened supportive relationships and alliances with key people in other areas of the company. While he had already developed a committed and loyal team within his organization, he developed awareness of his impact in senior team meetings and strengthened existing relationships. He became a better observer of his behavior in public settings outside of his own areas, and was able to influence how his leadership persona was regarded in the organization.
► Highly valued leaders of acquired organizations
General Manager and board members of global FMCG company
The coach supported the GM and board members of the acquired company in handling human due diligence and communicating the acquisition to the organization. The executive team needed to create a framework for announcing the acquisition managing the emotional response.
Coaching supported the development of a strategic vision for a ‘family’ type culture to help people better integrate. The executive team learned how to manage team leaders in order to motivate and select valued employees to preserve the ‘functioning’ teams despite anticipated downsizing and layoffs.
Senior Marketing / Product Development executive of Fortune 100 financial services company
During the course of the coaching engagement, the leader’s organization acquired another financial services company. The leader’s boss moved from the parent company to the acquired company, and the leader’s responsibilities were evaluated for continued fit in the combined entity.
The coaching touched on issues of dealing with fear and concern among his team about continued employment and relevance in the combined entity as well as leading effectively during a time of tumult and ambiguity. The coach worked with the leader to develop a rapid rapport with the new boss, demonstrating ability to provide assistance (including help with cultural integration into the parent company), reevaluate responsibilities and priorities, and develop recommendations for ‘what is needed’ in the new structure.
► Leaders in pre-M&A planning stages
Divisional VP Sales and US VP Human Resources of large multinational financial services firm
During the coaching engagement, the new CEO of this firm began evaluating acquisition candidates larger than the company, looking for a potential talent infusion from the target company. The coach supported these two leaders as they embarked on aligning the acquisition strategy to their respective functions.
Coaching supported the leaders in thinking through communications and initiative prioritization as well as how to position the talent within their teams (including themselves) for appropriate roles in the new entity. The coach also helped the leaders improve their influencing skills so they would have the tools to strengthen relationships across the new organization and with new leadership.
VPs and Directors of large regional bank
The company was set on a growth/acquisition strategy and had acquired and integrated many companies. These leaders were responsible for executing the acquisition strategy, including identifying targets and planning the integration of acquired firms. Later the company was acquired by a larger international banking company.
Coaching helped the leaders build successful relationships within the shifting culture as well as communicate and lead through the change. The coach supported leaders on identifying, engaging, and motivating valued employees in the acquired companies, realizing financial synergies – including layoffs and plant closures – and communicating with various contingencies in familiar and unfamiliar parts of the new organization. The leaders were able to maintain customer relationships, while continuing to direct a strategic vision and shape the culture of the newly integrated company.
► Leaders turning around flawed PMI strategy
CEO and senior executive staff of publicly traded hospital system
This hospital chain, one of the largest in the US, had grown rapidly through acquisitions. The CEO and senior staff needed to address a flawed process of integrating new physicians into its local hospitals. The coaching focused on helping them understand and realize the ramifications of the flawed strategy, as well as supporting them, as a team, to devise a new strategy to reign in uncontrolled spending. This needed to be balanced with not alienating physicians or causing significant turbulence in the market.
The senior leaders were able to gain a new perspective on the unpleasant reality of the situation and were encouraged to address the issue rather than ignore it, ultimately moving forward with the new approach to physician integration and management.
CEO of regional software development company
The company had been acquired by a larger firm. At the onset of the acquisition the two entities had not been well integrated, then several years later the parent company wanted to remedy that by realigning the subsidiary within the corporate configuration. It shifted the reporting structure so that the CEO was reporting to a new boss.
Much of the coaching focused on better integrating the company with the parent firm’s strategy and goals, including onboarding, interfacing with his new boss, and enhancing his visibility within the parent company. Coaching also supported the leader in addressing cultural differences between the parent company and the acquired firm by developing and executing a communication strategy to pull teams together and reorganize resources. This enabled the CEO to rebrand and retool the product set to reflect a more contemporary and aligned approach to the parent company’s marketplace.
► Leaders working to build trust, bridge culture and overcome resistance in PMI environments
SVP Operations of diversified mining company
This large public company had grown both organically and through acquisitions. The leader was a well-respected geologist who had been promoted to an SVP-level operating role and was expected to oversee the line managers in the various mines who had come from smaller independent producers. The leader needed to repair relationships with a major customer with whom the leader had a particularly bad encounter.
The engagement largely centered on building honest and productive interpersonal relationships with highly independent people who tended to respond negatively to a blatant display of authority. Through coaching, the leader discovered they responded well to a business partner model that was built on collaboration, influence and problem solving.
Senior executive in the US Division of global pharmaceutical firm
A Japanese pharmaceutical firm decided it needed to integrate its previously autonomous Japanese, US, and European divisions. This executive had been the previous head of the US division, and was now chosen to lead the integration effort.
Coaching focused on overcoming strong distrust among the three international divisions and eliminating the leader’s own bias toward autonomy of the three operations. Ultimately, the leader was able to help the US employees understand the vision and benefits of the integration and diminish their resistance to change.
► Leaders with increased responsibility and visibility due to M&A
Senior Executive of a global private equity firm acting as Interim CEO of acquired company
After the private equity firm acquired another company, this senior executive took on the role of interim CEO until an external hire could be made. The leader needed to juggle the competing demands of an operational role during a time of great uncertainty and economic challenge with his existing role in Portfolio Management.
The coach worked with him to communicate more effectively and exert a greater executive presence. With coaching, the leader learned to take a stance with leadership, set direction, challenge and discipline people while motivating them. Additionally, the coach supported the executive in handling a smooth transition to the new CEO.
Division President of Fortune 100 electronics company
This leader transitioned from being the CEO of a medical technology company to serving as the Division President of a much larger international electronics company that acquired the medical technology company.
Coaching focused on developing and building relationships and alliances with other areas of the company. The leader learned to manage the polarity of being supportive to his unit and also supporting corporate goals — two dimensions that were often at odds. For example, in the fight for profitability and market share, the larger organization focused more on standardization. The leader gradually developed trusting relationships in the larger organization and was able to communicate more effectively. Not only was he able to get support for the uniqueness of his unit, but he also heightened awareness of the importance of his smaller unit’s maintaining dominance in its niche and for its impact on the overall medical-technology offering for the entire group.
► Teams and multiple leaders responsible for PMI
CEO and Board of Directors of major Japanese glass manufacturer
The Japanese glass company acquired a larger European glass manufacturer. The company wanted to keep the European management team in place and shift the focus of its operations from Japan to Europe.
The challenge was to create a hybrid corporate culture which would combine the strengths of both companies and cultures. Coaching focused on how to instill a more Western outlook among the CEO and Board of Directors, focusing on enhanced communication between Japanese and non-Japanese employees. The company was able to integrate all levels of operations and introduce Western business practices in the Japanese workplace.
Management team and CEO of European bank
This bank sought acquisition in order to satisfy regulatory requirements, gain new skill sets, attain necessary knowledge to maintain market positions in core markets, and enter into new products areas.
To support the integration effort, the coach helped the team to identify and develop key relationships and effectively utilize the new power structure and operational systems. The coach worked with the CEO as he became CEO of the new company, and coached the management team around integration issues and opportunities. The coach also worked with analysts to capture operational synergies and roll out new products and programs.