Corporate Turnaround: How
Managers Turn Losers Into Winners!
By Donald B. Bibeault
1998/01 - Beard Books
1893122026 - Paperback - Reprint - 424 pp.
The ultimate guide on crisis management of corporations that are foundering or failing.
A comprehensive guide on how to turn a financially distressed company into a strong viable one. Based on the experience of 97 corporate leaders who successfully managed turnarounds in more than 200 failing corporations, the book analyzes the reasons for corporate decline, expounds on the key factors in turnaround success, and provides management strategies and practices for regaining growth and profits.
From the back cover blurb:
Crisis management is an art whose time definitely has come. Corporations by the score are foundering or failing, taking with them jobs and assets worth millions of dollars. Corporate Turnaround: How Managers Turn Losers into Winners! teaches you the art of managing corporate crises -- how to turn a loser company into a strong competitor.
From Turnarounds and Workouts, November 2007:
Corporate Turnaround offers, claims the author, a “four-pronged approach” to taking the “mystery out of turnaround management.” One of the prongs – Biebeault’s personal experiences – is complemented with another prong – interviews with sixteen top turnaround specialists. Together, they bring forth the drama and the stakes of turnarounds. The other two prongs – surveys of eighty-one corporate presidents and the author’s exhaustive research (400 references in all, taken from books, periodicals, and scholarly writings) – lend a great deal of substance and authority to the book’s subject matter. This variety of material greatly enriches the book, which is perhaps more relevant today than it was in 1982 when it was first published.
Identifying the underlying causes for failure can be a futile chicken-and-egg pursuit. “Businesses decline for both uncontrollable external reasons and for controllable internal reasons,” says Bibeault. Nonetheless, Bibeault adds that “[i]n most cases...business problems are internally generated.” As one of his sources explains, managing a company is like piloting a ship. “If the ship is in good condition and the captain is competent, it is almost impossible for it to be sunk by a wave or a succession of waves.” A competent captain with a ship in good condition can even bring it through a storm.
The manager of a company is different from the captain
of a ship, however, in that the manager not only has to pilot the
company, but is also responsible for its condition. The central
challenge for a manager is to ensure that the company is structurally
solid, operationally relevant, efficient, and adaptable to be able to
weather any conditions the company might encounter. Even though, as
Bibeault maintains, in practically all cases business problems are
internally generated, this does not rule out having to heed external
conditions. External economic, political, or market conditions expose
and exacerbate a company’s internal weaknesses. “Management is not
always able to deal with outside forces, even when they can see them
gathering.” A manager can be effective, however, in “getting a company
into a posture, both from a marketing and financial point of view,
where it can resist normal business hazards and other more serious
external challenges.” In such circumstances, a turnaround may
be a company’s only hope for survival, and the abilities of a
turnaround manager are required.
Bibeault describes such managers as “the George Pattons
of the business world.” “They don’t have a lot of friends, they’re not
social successes, they’re just known as blood-and-guts guys,” is the
way one corporate executive puts it; a description repeated
In Corporate Turnaround, Bibeault explores every facet of a turnaround. The causes of a company’s decline are followed with a thorough consideration of the management basics in effecting a turnaround. The book also examines the attributes of the turnaround manager and offers specific pragmatic steps for getting on the path to recovery. Lastly, Corporate Turnaround offers an overall strategy. The book is not only informative about the crucial subject of corporate turnaround, but also a manual for managing one.
Bibeault has worked on turnarounds of distressed companies for over 25 years in addition to holding top executive positions in a number of corporations. He also holds advisory or governing board positions with different universities and business groups.
Great for all managers, not just turnarounds,
November 12, 2001
Reviewer: T James Herrmann (Amazon.com)
I just reordered two more copies of Corporate Turnaround by Donald Bibeault.
I am an investment banker who, on occasion, has a client that gets into financial trouble. I find the book very helpful in both organizing a turnaround plan for the client as well as in coaching the client in taking corrective action.
When I first read Dr. Bibeault's book, I immediately recognized that this author knew exactly what happens to a troubled company and has mastered the tools of recovery from practical experience and not from some academic research. Bibeault's turnaround steps are simple and realistic and therefore can be applied in a variety of circumstances.
Each time that I encounter a turnaround situation, I offer my client a copy of Corporate Turnaround with relevant passages highlighted. As a first step, I always turn to Chapter 19 - "The Emergency Stage", and put emphasis on the section that covers Cash Flow Analysis and Control. Building a chart similar to the one showing a cash flow plan is an especially useful way to get started in the right direction.
I am delighted to see that this book is back in print because it's the best in its field. And in my case, its teachings have helped to save a number of companies from almost certain bankruptcy.
Bob Pascal (email@example.com),
very interested in corporate turnarounds, October 2, 2001
Donald B. Bibeault has turned around severely troubled companies for more than twenty-five years. He has served as Chairman, CEO, or Chief Operation Officer of numerous corporations including Pacific States Steel, PLM International, Best Pipe and Steel, Inc., Ironstone Group, Inc., American National Petroleum, Inc., Tyler-Dawson Supply and Iron Oak Supply Corporation. He has also served as special advisor to the CEO of Varity Corporations (formerly Massey-Ferguson Ltd.) and as a workout advisor to Bank to America. He is a member of the Board of Overseers of Columbia Business School, a Trustee of Golden Gate University and a member of the University of Rhode Island Business Advisory Board. Dr. Bibeault holds an MBA from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from Golden Gate University. Photo taken from the back cover.