Leading the WayPoint

Company management should seek help voluntarily to aid turnaround approach.

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WayPoint Change LLP was founded in 2006 in response to the growing need for a joined-up turnaround approach. Delivered through individuals with complementary skills working together,
this approach became known as a ‘boutique’.

Seven years later, WayPoint’s senior team includes an experienced corporate lawyer (Amanda Allen) and a property specialist (Mark Bayley) as well as turnaround FDs (Andy Pearson and Claire Burden) and CROs (Nick Winks and Paul Herbert). Other team members are highly skilled in cash management and developing integrated financial forecast models.

Since 2010 we have seen more emphasis on stakeholder-led pressure for change in a company’s performance. Some of this is more about transformation than turnaround. The difference being that transformation is about increasing shareholder value over a period of years, while turnaround is usually about very rapid action to safeguard creditor positions, delivered in a few weeks or months.

Nick Winks (below), senior partner of WayPoint Change, has been leading turnarounds and transformations for 20 years following a career as MD and CEO in both public and private companies. These days he mostly takes executive chairman roles, overseeing the company through initial stabilisation before two or three years of growth followed, usually, by an exit, which he manages.

WayPoint partners are currently working on five transformations and five turnarounds. These involve
three of the main banks, one continental bank and four mid-market PE houses. Because of their experience WayPoint members are also often asked to advise on transactions and act as non-executive directors on the boards of public and private companies.

The most common failing WayPoint sees, as do most turnaround and transformation specialists, is that so few company management teams seek help of their own volition. The impetus for change
comes too often from advisers, banks or shareholders. If company directors were more proactive in asking for help quickly enough, it is likely issues would be tackled earlier, more effectively and with far better long-term outcomes.

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