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Review: The London Business School and TMA UK Panel Conference on 5 February, 2020

Posted: 11 Feb, 2020

Last Wednesday, we were pleased to see TMA members and students at the panel conference, jointly organized by the TMA and the LBS Turnaround and Restructuring Club.

With the bold title of “Turnaround or Burial? A Reflection of Recent Company Failures”, the panel aimed to discuss why so many retail turnarounds failed, what the instruments for dealing with distressed retailers were and what the future was for bricks-and-mortar retailers given the disruptive wave of e-commerce.

TMA organized events at LBS before. “The food at LBS is always good!”, - joked one of the attendees who had just registered for the conference and was yet to receive his name badge. Nevertheless, both for the TMA and London Business School, it was the first experience of such a kind and scale, where LBS students, passionate about Turnaround and Restructuring, were able to join the leading professionals in these fields for a lively and interactive panel discussion on the future of recovering retail companies.

The scale of the event was underlined by a fantastic lineup of speakers, who kindly dedicated their time to visit us on this busy midweek evening. Our panelists were Adam Plainer, Head of Restructuring at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, Raj Apte, Head of Central & Southeast Europe and CIS Restructuring at EY, Gijs de Reuver, Managing Director at the Financial Restructuring Group at Houlihan Lokey and David O’Neill, Vice President at McKinsey Recovery and Transformation Services (RTS). Finally, the panel was moderated by Tony Groom, CEO of K2 Partners with over 20 years of CRO experience.

We could not dream of a better panel composition, which allowed us to learn deep insights from either strategic, operational, financial, legal or transaction advisory sides of retail restructuring deals and turnarounds. After about half an hour, thanks to Tony’s masterful moderating, the onstage panel discussion turned into a benevolent, open, yet an intense and sincere knowledge-sharing debate between almost 100 students, professionals and the panelists, for whom a number of discussed topics played personal, emotional parts in their careers.

A great canapés and drinks reception closed the evening, where guests and speakers could get acquainted to and network with each other. This was also a fantastic opportunity for LBS students to capitalize on what they learned in classes just before the event, and find out how real restructuring deals and turnarounds are done in practice from the country-leading professionals who attended the event.

We are extremely grateful to everyone who attended the event, especially to the speakers and our Moderator, Tony, for inspiring a 100-strong audience with their knowledge and practical experience.  Last, but not least, we would like to say huge thank you to Kelly Darlaston, who coordinated the preparation and aligned everyone involved in the process, and without whom none of this would have been possible.

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