The parallels between a distressed company and a patient in need of healthcare are endless. One of the analogies we use most frequently to describe our work as turnaround and restructuring professionals is that of an emergency room doctor. Depending on the severity of the ailment, we liken the downsizing, divestiture, or liquidation of a struggling business unit to a doctor’s decision to amputate an arm to save a patient’s life. Oftentimes, we lament that the patient did not seek treatment or a routine checkup soon enough for us to implement a cure.

In our quest for continuous...

You may be familiar with the “six degrees of separation” theory—the idea that every person in the world is connected to every other person by six or fewer steps. According to the six degrees theory, every one of an estimated 7.6 billion people in the world can be connected to every other person on the planet through just five other people. It suggests that more connectedness exists between people than we might think.

American playwright John Guare popularized and labeled the concept in his 1990 play Six Degrees of Separation, which served as the basis for a movie of the...

As professionals in the turnaround industry, each of us faces disruption on a daily basis, either with our clients or with our own businesses. Change is constant, and responding to disruption, whether proactively or reactively, is woven into our fabric.

When I became a member of TMA in 2001, I joined for two reasons: to be part of a vibrant chapter community of local restructuring professionals with regional and global networking opportunities, and to meet other members who could refer business or deals. Today, I remain an active member of TMA because I value TMA’s role in those...

In this, my final JCR column, I will forego a sentimental retrospective of my time as TMA Global President, now Chairman. Make no mistake, my time in TMA Global leadership has been a singularly exciting and rewarding experience—truly a career opportunity. But I much prefer to look forward through the windshield, not backward through the rearview mirror.

So, what do I see ahead? More challenges in an industry that has yet to settle in completely to its “new normal.” Certainly, the restructuring industry has contracted somewhat. High-yield maturities have decreased over...

For those of us in the trenches of lower middle market special situations, there are signs of a coming disturbance in the Force.

No one knew what the disturbance was at the beginning of 2007, but we soon found out it was subprime mortgages. Who knew in 2007 that my old employer, National City Bank, a conservative regional bank based in Cleveland that bought my firm in August 2006, was one of, if not the, largest originators of subprime mortgages in the country and was the largest bank not to get federal Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money in 2008?

NatCity was...

A broad-based group of TMA members gathered in Chicago last month to kick off a process that will help determine the future course of TMA. In the face of ever-changing market dynamics, the group is charged with developing a strategic plan that will ensure TMA continues to be relevant and a valuable resource for all of us involved in the turnaround and restructuring industry.

Those invited to participate represented a cross-section of our membership and included former TMA Global chairs; current TMA leaders; representatives from NextGen, TMA NOW, and North American and international...

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, a French critic, journalist, and novelist, wrote "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose," which has been roughly translated to “the more things change, the more they stay the same" (Les Guêpes, January 1849). 

When I was growing up, my elders used that phrase to illustrate that although much appears to change in life, the underlying human condition and human interaction remain unaltered. This phrase may seem out of step with the accelerated and aggressive nature of change today. The world is shrinking, and we are being asked to think of just about...

I’ve just returned from the TMA Eastern European Conference held at the Czech National Bank in Prague. In its third year, this conference continues to grow by attracting individuals engaged in or interested in turnaround, restructuring, insolvency, and corporate renewal in the Central East European (CEE) region.

It’s no surprise that this conference grows year over year. In the past three years, new TMA chapters have opened across the region to help companies deal with fallout from the Great Recession, the maturing of the post-communist economies, and the impact of economic...

My last Reflections column in the Journal of Corporate Renewal was titled “Corporate Restructuring: Will the Force Awaken?” I’m here to tell you now that it has and we’re in the early stages of the new cycle.

I write this having just returned from TMA’s biggest and best Distressed Investing Conference ever. Over 700 of the top professionals in the restructuring industry attended the annual event in Las Vegas in February. The quality of the educational panels was excellent, and the two keynote speakers were widely regarded as the most outstanding we have had.

First up...

TMA Chicago/Midwest: Operational Excellence (Mega Chapter)

A Student Internship Competition was created in 2016 and was offered to interns at companies who are annual sponsors. The competition promotes young professionals exploring careers in corporate restructuring and enhances TMA’s visibility in the industry. 

In addition to this new initiative, the chapter has an annual budget/strategy meeting to determine its operating plan for the upcoming year. Definitive goals are set and leadership is informed. An onboarding process for outgoing and incoming leadership maximizes...