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Crisis: A Turnaround Professional's Finest Hour

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Life is predictably unpredictable. We have all been reminded of this in the last few weeks and months in connection with the looming global pandemic. Just typing that sentence is a surreal experience.

As I write this, the coronavirus—officially named SARS-CoV-2, with its disease being named COVID-19—has been reported in tens of thousands of instances on six of the of the world’s seven continents. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), WHO (World Health Organization), and every other organization whose acronymic name provides authority on the topic are reporting the same message: The coronavirus is spreading and will get worse before it gets better. Markets are wildly fluctuating, business plans are being adjusted (or scrapped), and a globally interconnected economy is struggling with how best to respond.

What does this mean for the turnaround industry? If the various prognostications are anywhere close to correct, no industry will be spared from the impact of the escalating fears associated with the virus—even if those fears prove to be unfounded. And the speed with which the virus itself has been transmitted worldwide only further highlights and proves the intertwined nature of the global economy upon which the world relies.

We are all at our best in times of crisis, when companies need to act fast to preserve assets of all types, including human capital.

When and how will this worldwide issue impact your organization or turnaround client? Will there be shortages of raw materials, supply parts, and other inputs that impact production processes and sales? Every responsible company is evaluating and revising budgets and forecasts, including the impact of decreased travel, decreased spending, disrupted supply chains, and cautious customers. COVID-19 references are already popping up in force majeure clauses, “material adverse change” clauses, and insurance provisions appearing in agreements of all types.

As turnaround professionals, we may not be able to provide a vaccine or treat patients in a global healthcare pandemic, but we can help the businesses that provide value to the world react quickly and in a way that helps preserve that value. We are all at our best in times of crisis, when companies need to act fast to preserve assets of all types, including human capital. This should be a restructuring professional’s finest hour, and at a time when our industry needs us the most. TMA stands ready, willing, and able to proactively help in any way possible to serve and assist its members to connect with one another and perform whatever the changing global situation requires.

Derek Meek

Derek F. Meek

Burr & Forman

Derek F. Meek is the 2020 TMA Global President. He is a partner at Burr & Forman in the firm's Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama offices with a focus on bankruptcy and commercial litigation matters. Derek regularly represents debtors, creditors, committees, asset purchasers and other clients in matters related to insolvency, financial distress, and bankruptcy, both in and out of court. Derek also regularly advises clients in and around the automotive manufacturing space, including OEMs, tier-suppliers, financiers, and transportation providers.

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