Founded in 1983, Alvarez & Marsal is a global professional
services provider, with one overriding specialty: helping clients
accelerate performance, overcome challenges, and maximize value. To
do that, the firm offers several main global service lines:
performance improvement, corporate restructuring, tax advisory,
global forensics and disputes, and private equity services.
While the firm is perhaps best known for its work turning around
troubled companies, the lessons gleaned from those experiences mean
that A&M also has strong capabilities when it comes to advising
leaders of healthy firms on how to improve their performance.
Indeed, in describing its capabilities, the company states that,
"there are more similarities than differences in managing troubled
companies and managing for growth." That outlook-together with the
firm's broad array of capabilities-means A&M has the potential
to thrive in almost any economic climate.
The company serves clients across a range of industries,
including automotive and suppliers, consumer packaged goods,
energy, financial services, healthcare, high tech, insurance,
manufacturing, media and entertainment, private equity, public
sector, real estate, retail, and transportation and infrastructure.
Its client list includes AmLaw 100 and Fortune Global 500
(and half of the Fortune 100) firms, and largest U.S.
banks. The firm has 41 offices in 17 countries in North America,
Europe, Asia and Latin America.
From one shop to one-stop-shop
When founders Tony Alvarez II and Bryan Marsal hung their
shingle in New York in 1983, they did so as a firm with one core
competency: restructuring. For the next 15 years, the firm
gradually built a reputation in its local market as the go-to
outfit for troubled companies-a reputation that led to the decision
to expand the business, first nationally, in 1999, and then
internationally with the launch of a European practice in 2001.
Having steered clients through the fallout from the tech bust
and the accounting scandals of the early years of the decade,
A&M's next move was to help them navigate through the raft of
new regulations that emerged because of those scandals.
Accordingly, with clients struggling to come to terms with the
details of the Sarbanes-Oxley regulations, in 2004 the firm
branched into performance improvement and business advisory, before
adding transaction advisory and private equity services the
Cometh the hour…
If the implosion of the financial markets in 2008 can be called
a disaster, Alvarez & Marsal's role was akin to that of first
responder: in the midst of the credit crunch, the firm created a
dedicated Financial Industry Advisory Services unit. Featuring a
blend of blend of consultants and banking industry operators on
both sides of the pond, the unit was created to offer clients in
the financial services industry counsel from former bankers and
bank regulators, turnaround managers, real estate advisers,
forensic accountants and IT strategists, among others.
Underlining its reputation as a restructuring and turnaround
specialist, meanwhile, A&M was selected to lead the global
wind-down of Lehman Brothers following its declaration of
bankruptcy-the largest (and likely the most complicated) wind-down
in U.S. history. The Lehman project alone took four years; the bank
began the process of repaying creditors in 2012 when it emerged
from bankruptcy protection. Additionally, the firm also led the
liquidation of WaMu and other major banking institutions in the
aftermath of the credit crisis, and is active in countries and
financial institutions across the Eurozone and North America,
preparing for Dodd Frank and Basel III implementation, including
new capital, business model, operational and risk/regulatory and
asset management requirements.
Principles of management
In recent years, Alvarez & Marsal's star has been rising in
industry sectors where activist operational support and leadership,
culled from the firm's distinctive restructuring heritage and
relentless focus on execution and results, have been most needed.
Accordingly, A&M is well positioned to help define a new breed
of consulting firm among healthy corporates addressing the trials
and tribulations inherent in every economic cycle.
Regardless of where a firm falls on the scale from "troubled" to
"healthy", A&M believes that its principles for management can
be applied to help it improve its performance an unlock value.
Those principles include: minimizing bureaucracy but maintaining
strong process management; challenging assumptions and traditional
interests; remaining fact-based and objective when seeking reasons
for underlying issues; rooting out under-performance; clarifying
responsibility, authority and leadership over key initiatives; a
belief that culture is a covenant that leaders build and maintain
with their people that should not be squandered; and always