October 2023 - The IFT

Adapt Transform Succeed: The IFT announces 2023 Award Winners

The IFT Annual Awards, the most prestigious awards to celebrate business turnaround and the UK’s world class turnaround experts, recognises individuals and companies.

The winners are as follows:

Large Company Turnaround of the Year PwC for Travelex. This was a multi-year turnaround, with an emphasis on leadership. The team were persistent, adapted when required and shared their energy and motivation across the company. The case showed determination, resilience and commitment to deliver the turnaround plan, which was shared by employees, shareholders, the Barclays led lender group and PwC, leading the business back to profitability.

Mid-market Turnaround of the YearRcapital for Cluttons. he judges stated that this was a truly remarkable turnaround, transformation, and exit. Facing challenging trading conditions, Cluttons embarked on a journey to return to growth through successful financial restructuring, strategic repositioning, and technological innovation alongside a commitment to ESG principles. Cluttons is a heritage brand, and the turnaround enabled it to respond to the contemporary environment, echoing the IFT’s message: Adapt, Transform, Succeed.

SME Turnaround of the YearBarclays for Salvatori Group of Companies. The judges remarked upon the resilience showed by this historically successful business in overcoming the challenges associated with a premises move, overrunning costs and profitability issues. The submission showcased the rock-solid dependability of the business support team, which enabled the management team to guide their own return to profitability

Community Impact Turnaround of the YearBDO for HCT Group, a social enterprise and registered charity providing a range of vital community transport services. This turnaround presented a challenging case, with a lot at stake for the communities served. The judges remarked on the commitment of the leadership team, and differing skills displayed by those members of our turnaround community who were involved. The turnaround enabled the continued provision of essential services to vulnerable groups, and saved over 1,000 jobs.

DLA Piper picked up Legal Adviser of the Year. This firm has long been known for its breadth of expertise across sectors. The cases and programmes cited in their submission indicated a commitment to turnaround outcomes, and engagement across stakeholder groups. DLA Piper demonstrated that they are working at the leading edge of turnaround practice by championing Part 26a Restructuring Plans and securing notable sanctions.

Alvarez and Marsal has achieved remarkable growth and delivered exceptional solutions for clients, including as an early pioneer of Part 26a Restructuring Plans, to win in the category of Turnaround Adviser of the Year. Their submission demonstrated a spread of sector activity and great engagement with stakeholders.

Enact Fund has continued to cement its position as a leading transformational investor in the UK lower mid-market and wins Special Situations Private Equity Provider of the Year. Enact have established a strong operating model, enabling portfolio companies to drive success, with a clear commitment to sustainability and ESG practice. The team evidenced strong outcomes across portfolio companies, predicated on turnaround excellence – demonstrating the IFT brand: adapt, transform, succeed.

Blazehill Capital picked up the award for Special Situations Debt Provider of the Year. As a relatively new entrant, the marketplace has taken note and Blazehill are already recognised for their skill in both origination and managing problems. Their profile as a flexible lender, providing more choice for UK mid-market companies, is combined with a commitment to social causes.

Bringing together leading independent turnaround directors and the best lenders, investors, advisory and legal firms in turnaround, we are also delighted to celebrate individual successes.

The winner of Independent Turnaround Adviser of the Year for this year was Donald Muir. Donald is well known as a turnaround leader and his most recent large turnaround showcased his outstanding leadership skills, his ability to inspire others to excellent results and the trust he builds with stakeholders.

This is the first year The IFT had independent advisers and a boutique apply to win the independent adviser award, which prompted the judges’ decision to make two awards, with Taiga Associates taking home Independent Boutique Adviser of the Year. The judges recognised the technical excellence and EQ of all team members and their commitment to the turnaround cases they approach, no matter how big, small or challenging. Taiga support a range of companies across different sectors, and are able to provide a blend of skills to support privately owned smaller businesses, PE backed mid markets and Plcs.

Finally, our Rising Star Award went to Nashiba Shafiq of PwC, who has worked across a range of projects with a variety of stakeholders – and her personal impact came across very compellingly in her citations. Starting as a school leaver, she shows maturity beyond her years in her ability to lead, to influence change and to make a difference for future generations.

Andy Leeser, Chairman of The IFT said: “I am delighted to congratulate all our winners and showcase some of the projects our members and partners are involved in.

They work hard at restoring value to organisations in very difficult situations. Since 2020 businesses have faced a rollercoaster of disruption and the pressure is showing in the insolvency rate, which rose 27% in June 2023 compared with a year earlier, taking it to the highest level since the 2008-9 financial crisis.

The work of our members and corporate partners will remain pivotal.”

Milly Camley, CEO of The IFT said:

“I would like to congratulate all the winners in a year of highly competitive submissions demonstrating what an incredible job all our members have been doing over the last year.  The quality and impact of that work was reflected in the number of quality of submissions we received for the awards this year.

Those contributions are also reflected in the findings of our recent societal impact survey, which estimated that IFT accredited members saved in excess of 55,000 jobs and £2.6bn in shareholder value in the year 2022-23. When we factor in the work of our partners the number of jobs saved rises to just shy of 150,000.”

The IFT Annual Awards 2023

Awards submissions are now closed but tickets are still available to purchase.

Each year, the IFT Annual Awards showcase the very best in the turnaround and transformation practise and outcomes.  Attended by the key individuals and firms – advisers, investors, lawyers and lenders – active in the UK marketplace, the awards dinner is a landmark event in the annual business calendar.

Run by the Institute for Turnaround, the only UK accrediting membership organisation for turnaround and transformation professionals, and overseen by an independent judging panel, securing an award in a firm or individual category is recognised as a badge of excellence.

To submit an entry, please complete one of the two forms below:

For Individual and Firm Awards:

  • Turnaround Adviser
  • Independent Turnaround Adviser
  • Rising Star
  • Legal Adviser
  • Special Situations Debt Provider
  • Special Situations Private Equity Provider)

Please click HERE

For Company and Organisation Awards:

  • SME Turnaround
  • Mid-Market Turnaround
  • Large Company Turnaround
  • Community Impact Turnaround

Please click HERE

Last year we know some of you got very creative with your entries and included videos, articles and other media. The judges would love to see this again, so if you do have other supporting information that you would like the judges to see please send it directly to info@the-ift.com.

To assist with your entries we have created the attached guidelines document. IFT Awards 2023 Guidelines, 2023 Awards Submissions Questions. If you wish to discuss any entries in more detail before submitting them please contact info@the-ift.com and a member of the team will be able to help.

Tables (Pre shortlist £3,520, final price £3,840) and tickets (Member £420, Fellow £300, Non-Member £440) for the ceremony are also now available (please see below for more information. Prices excl VAT. Tickets for this event are non-refundable).

Please be aware, the submission deadline date has now been extended to 17:00 on Friday 28th July 2023. Best of luck with your submissions!

Webinar AI: Friend or Foe? Trusting The Power of Artificial Intelligence

12th October – 16:00

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the buzz word of the year. Since the launch of ChatGPT, many enterprises have joined the race to include AI in the work that they do and try to stay at the forefront of technology. The term AI was first coined in 1950, so why has the phenomenon taken this long to start and should enterprises care about using it?

During this session, our team will discuss if we should trust the power of AI including:

  • What is AI?
  • Trusting AI and bias
  • Use cases – how can enterprises benefit from using AI?

IFT Societal Impact Report 2023: Adapt, Transform, Succeed

This is the fourth year that the IFT has commissioned a survey of its members to quantify the value of turnaround and transformation. This year’s report estimates that accredited turnaround professionals saved an estimated 55,000 jobs in 2022-23, helping UK companies to add £2.6 billion in shareholder value.

Demand for turnaround management services continues to grow among The IFT’s membership. Over 90 per cent are busier in 2023 than in 2022, and over 95 per cent expect more turnaround activity in the next 12 months than in the last.

The retail sector saw the largest increase in distressed companies in the last year and was the third most common sector seeking turnaround support. The manufacturing and construction sectors were the top two sectors providing work for turnaround professionals, both of which saw an increase in distressed companies over the period. Turnaround experts expect these three sectors to lead demand for turnaround over the next 12 months.

IFT professionals reported that over half (54 per cent) of companies they are called in to assist are simply unaware that they are in trouble until it is too late. This year’s survey showed continued strong resistance among distressed companies to turnaround support. Over three quarters (77 per cent) of IFT members reported cultural resistance to external advice as the most common reason that companies didn’t seek support.

Against this, while turnaround projects typically require an adviser to focus on short-term survival, some 60 per cent of them have involved a full business transformation process in the last year, reflecting the IFT’s focus to “adapt, transform and succeed.”

This year we have focused on challenges in specific sectors and the approach needed to help companies adapt, transform and succeed in the context of the UK’s productivity challenge. The report also draws attention to the welcome greater use of restructuring plans, aligning with our messaging in this area. A link to the full report can be found below.

IFT Impact Report 2023