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Growth through Mergers and Acquisitions:

Cases in Due Diligence, Integration & Post-Merger Clean-Up

growthcurv has led merger integration projects across New Zealand, Australia, SE Asia, UK, USA and continental Europe.

Two-Way Merger Integration 

Company: Winterthur UK's (Credit Suisse owned) acquisition of Colonial Pty Ltd (Australian-owned)

Client: CEO and Chairman, John Finan

Pamela was hired to design and lead the merger of two global businesses from two different cultures six months before the Exchange of Control. The project included a strategic review of what each business provided the new entity, stakeholder assessment; confirming the strategy; re-assessing and endorsing expected synergies; establishing the Project Management Office; selecting members from each company to work in in the PM Team; redesigning the top 3 levels of management, then the organisation; manage teams working on product and service alignment and roll-out; managing the Exchange of Control events; combining best-of-both cultures to ensure goals and growth; over-seeing execution of the 100 Day Plan; coaching the Chairman, CEO and top team throughout the process supporting their effective leadership of the integration.
Feedback from the client after the completion of the work included:

Neil Cantle, Director of Corporate Development, Winterthur Life, United Kingdom 

"The project required the integration of two similar sized organisations, over a large geographical distance and at a very rapid pace. … Throughout the project, Pamela coached the team very effectively and interfaced well with senior management to bring key facts and issues to the table for discussion or resolution. Unlike 80% of acquisition exercises, this one succeeded in achieving all of its primary objectives. Pamela's pragmatic and insightful approach to the work, combining the tactical and the strategic, and ability to interact well with staff and management at all levels was a key factor in this."

Three-Way Merger Integration

Company: Zurich Financial Services merged three companies in the Group: Zurich Assurance, Allied Dunbar Assurance and Eagle Star Assurance

Client: ZFS UK, CEO, Ray Greenshields

Swiss group Zurich Financial Services bought two other assurances businesses and hired Pamela to merge them with their existing business, Zurich Assurance. Each of the three-business were vastly different in global geographic coverage, product and service range, target client groups, organisational evolution and culture. One had a strong-hold in European markets, another two had deep penetration in Asia-Pacific and American markets. Each business was at a different stage of growth, and the leadership styles and organisation designs were variable. The main challenges with this global three-way integration included: creating a single largely-centralised but locally-enabled entity; aligning Swiss, British and other national cultures to create one set of global business values that employees could and would adopt to fuel business growth; and integrating technology and serviced delivery processes globally to ensure greatest cost effectiveness while maintaining and improving service quality.

Feedback from the client after the completion of the work included

Evelyn Bourke, former Partner of Towers Perrin Tillinghast (now Group CEO, Bupa, UK)

"I was impressed by Pamela’s detailed attention to the strategic and commercial aspects of the business…. She demonstrated that she can motivate a team of people to work closely with her in delivering the strategy. I think one of Pamela’s greatest talents is a sustained focus on seeing a project through to its proper conclusions and providing active assistance in the design and implementation phase."

Post-Merger Clean-Up following 33 Acquisitions

Company: Coffey Group, an Australian-based, ASX-listed, global engineering company

Client: MD and CEO, Roger Olds 

After Coffey completed 33 acquisitions in five years across nine businesses (operating in 12 nations and delivering projects across 80 countries), Pamela was hired to investigate the stress fractures resulting from incomplete integration and make recommendations for change. She started as an external consultant but was soon asked to join the executive team as Director of Strategy and Transformation reporting to the CEO. She lead the top team to formulate a three-year strategy and transformation process to realise the financial, commercial and IP synergies that shareholders had been promised from the acquisitions. Insufficient integration work had been completed; most of the acquired businesses had been ‘bolted-on’ creating duplication across the nine businesses, so rationalisation was needed. In addition, the leadership and organisation structures were put in place when Coffey was a smaller, less complex business and it was time for a rethink.

After the strategy and organisation review process she then led a global transformation to centralise the 9 business' functional departments and a culture change program to align values, people and processes to deliver promised performance enhancements. One of the significant by-products of this exercise was the establishment of a group-wide Key Client Management System to equip newly established Group-wide sales and marketing teams to more effectively serve global clients like BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

Feedback from the manager after the completion of the work:

Mark Nicholas, GM Coffey Geotechnics and Transformation Leader at Coffey Group (a direct report in the Transformation Leader role)

"I had the privilege of working with Pamela at Coffey as we set about the task of shifting the structure, focus and culture of a highly diverse, geographically dispersed organisation…Pamela provided a level of energy, intellectual rigor and drive that I’ve never seen before or since. She questions and challenges, cajoles and encourages in equal measure. She brings experience across a wide variety of sectors and uses it to inform new conversations, new insights and real-world strategies to generate results. She offers frank and fearless advice where it is needed most – to those who, typically receive it least in a corporate environment. No organisation could be the same after having her as part of its team and few would fail to gain enormously from her input."

Post-merger Performance Improvement in Preparation for Sale

Company: GAB Robins New Zealand's multiple integrations, then sale to SGS Group, Switzerland

Client: Managing Director (NZ), Brett Fawcett

Pamela was hired at the end of a period of acquisitions by GAB Robins’ Directors; they purchasing eight privately-owned practices to add to the company’s existing 12 branches giving it a spread of 20 offices in 20 cities around New Zealand. Pamela's role was to assist the MD to complete the integration, establish a single culture and assist the top team to lead, manage and grow a national business in preparation for sale to a global entity. After making the necessary adjustments and strengthening the business's annual revenue and profit performance it was sold to Swiss-based SGS Group.
Feedback from the client after the completion of the work included:

Brett Fawcett, Managing Director (NZ); President, International Markets, GAB Robins Group, Switzerland

"Pamela awakened in us, an appreciation of strategic management skills that we needed for the profitable future development and coached us in many aspects of leadership…. Pamela’s involvement is one of the reasons (our) unit is the best in the GAB Robins Group from the perspective of its quality of management, its relationships and stature within the insurance industry, and the stability of its senior management and top professionals."

400-year-old bank integrates younger nimble private partnership

Company: Barclays Banking Group acquires Gerrard Wealth Management UK

Client: Barclays Wealth Management CEO, Ray Greenshields

Gerrard’s Wealth Management was a private partnership comprising a wide network of small operations throughout the United Kingdom. They sold to institutionalised Barclays Bank which employed over 70,000 people and the culture clash became immediately apparent. As a specialist in merger integrations and corporate cultures, Pamela was asked to examine the differences in culture, leadership and operations and make recommendations to Bank leaders about how to ensure the successful integration. An early assumption that the Bank’s culture and operational procedures might be superior to that of the smaller business was challenged and altered with sharing and the adoption of best-practices from both sides; Pamela was able to demonstrate that Gerrard had much to offer the Bank.

Due Diligence, Pitch Preparation and Negotiation

Company: PKF Australia negotiates with Deloitte Australia

Client: PKF Australia Managing Partner, David Ratcliffe

Deloitte Australia approached PKF Australia to enter merger negotiations while Pamela was in the middle of a strategic review exercise with the partners of PKF. During the review the partners had been exploring alternative growth strategies and merger possibilities, so the call from one of the top-4 global firms was timely and welcomed.  Pamela assisted the Managing Partner and Chairman to evaluate the proposed merger, prepare credentials and conduct due diligence on Deloitte Australia which included an assessment of the cultures, leadership styles and ambitions of the two firms. She supported merger talks with Deloitte Australia and the parties agreed the culture gap and differences in financial expectations at that time was too wide to close.

See more Client Testimonials 

Contact Pamela Young to discuss your merger due diligence, merger integration planning or how to realise post-merger synergies on:


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