Building a new executive team following a merger

The company

The recession had prompted competitor service businesses Zircon plc and Amber s.a. into a cross-border merger in order to survive.

The CEO’s problem

Julian Grey, the new group CEO, had appointed a new top team with a good mix from both companies. The most urgent task was to align that team of former rivals around a new strategy and a new business model, and rebuild the confidence of employees and customers who had been shaken by what had happened.

The work

Through structured interviews, we conducted an initial assessment of the degree of convergence, or difference, among the executive team on a range of factors including: marketplace environment, strategy, operating model, culture and values, ways of working and other implicit mental models of leadership. Based on this analysis, within six weeks we had led a series of short, tailor-made workshops that enabled them to agree what they would choose to keep from their two previous organisations, and what they would start afresh. The outcome was a new business model, a well-articulated story and a clear three-year ambition.

Making it stick

CEO Grey launched the new operating model, ambition and journey at a leadership conference, complete with new success measures. The new pace and alignment was visible to all and it accelerated the integration and implementation of the changes required. Unlike with most mergers, there was little loss of business during the first year.

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