The end of the art of the turnaround

The road back for a broken company has always been long and hard. But today it is longer and harder than ever. What’s needed is serious regulatory relief and some very big, very long overdue tort reform.

Wonder where all the jobs really went? The Obama campaign likes to blame Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Bain Capital, and other corporate clean-up crews called in to figure out what to do with a business in crisis or in stasis. But all too often, such third parties are forced — often against their own counsel or ambition — to shut the business down, as quickly as possible, rather than turn it around and salvage as many jobs as they can.

Some culprits for these hair-trigger liquidations are obvious. Expansion of creditors' power under the Bankruptcy Act of 2005 is driving instant liquidations of some businesses and contributing to the mushrooming of adolescent hedge funds on the hunt for vulnerable companies. Throw in an insatiable hunger among investment banks for transaction-based fees and you have a "ready-sell-aim" mentality that now routinely wipes out salvageable companies at a crossroads.

But there is a larger, more troubling force at work: an emerging culture of caution, bordering on cowardice, in corporate governance, thanks to regulatory corporation-bashing inspired by the shenanigans of three companies — Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco — at the beginning of the millennium and galvanized by the rash of class-action lawsuits that have occurred since.

Read the full article at The American.com.

 

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J.D.
Kleinke

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