In the IFT Chairman’s day-job as chief executive of The Cooperative, they have reached that satisfying point known to many transformation and turnaround professionals, where they can look back on the crisis that threatened to engulf the group two years ago, knowing that it once again has a future.
As Richard Pennycook says, “There is much still to do, but we are rebuilding on firm foundations.” That is how to create value from a situation where none seemed likely to exist.
The same can be true of most companies, whether SMEs, FTSE250, public sector, private or not-for-profit and charities. What it takes are people who can objectively assess the organisation, look at it with depth of experience, from a new perspective and work with management to move the company from where it is to where it realistically can be. IFT-accredited members – you can’t just join – take responsibility by becoming company directors, and they are there for the company, for all its stakeholders.
Over the years as the IFT’s chief executive, I have seen countless examples of how to transform organisations at risk of underperformance. Our national conference platform on September 10 includes Ann Budge, owner, CEO and chairwoman of Heart Of Midlothian Football Club. In May 2014, Ann completed her takeover of Hearts, thereby saving the club from liquidation and expulsion from the Scottish Football League. The existing entity was preserved and Hearts started the 2014/2015 season free from further football sanctions, leaving its financial future in the hands of its loyal supporter base.
What IFT members do matters to the economy – by saving jobs, boosting productivity, growth and protecting the interests of customers, employees, shareholders and the wider general public – and that, surely, is creating sustainable value.
Christine Elliott is chief executive of The IFT
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