Mergers and Acquisitions: The state of the art – part 2

So today about fellow practitioners presenting on the M&A conference at Warwick Business School last month. First out was James Allison, Executive Vice President for Corporate Strategy, M&A and Treasury at Unilever. James is a great speaker, so it was a pleasure to follow him. Despite he is a financial guy he didn’t feed us with too many figures, instead he tried to structure the M&A activities that Unilever had done in the past and correlate it with success. Main topic was about M&A strategy and stakeholder management and he impressively could demonstrate that Unilever without doubts have implemented both a successful strategy and a good execution framework. According to James he is actually himself very happy with the results of the integration in the megadeals. Only on smaller acquisitions he sees room for improvement and he actually also hinted on the improvement potential: those integrations are left to the business units, too little re-use of M&A experience seems to the price for the full accountability that business side gets.

Second practitioner was James McLetchie, Partner at McKinsey and head of their merger practice. His keynote speech was about behavioural dynamics and technology and I want to tell you that surprisingly he was not overselling his company as it often happens with the big consultancy firms, no he was sharing quite openly his experiences, of course success stories and not the failures, but it is ok to be proud of your success! One aspect that I picked up is that he talked about the pressure of his clients to leave the modell of assigning one partner or principal and several junior consultants and how they try to use technology to go this direction. He gave an example where they used a back-office team and big-data to dig out what they needed instead of let junior consultants doing that at the client.

Third practitioner was me, my presentation you can click on the homepage yourself (About us / Coming soon…). The topic “Best practice in tech M&A” had 2 practitioners: first Ari Salonen, CEO of Midaxo who in his keynote presented their tool and also who digitalisation can help to achieve better results. Last but definitely not least Christophe Van Gampelaere from Global PMI Partners was presenting their Vicars Model on how to handle change. A simple model, addressing all aspects that are needed for successful change and some extra focus on the cultural aspect. I think all we senior transformation leaders use it in a similar way, however Christopher explained it in a very illustrative and pedagogic form. Short and Simple explanation for something that is one of the most difficult parts in our daily life!

Next time I will share a little bit more about academia’s presentations and then we move to new topics in the blog again.

Wish you all a wonderful and successful week!