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Case Study – Turnaround of a Nordic medical device company by interim CEO

The medical technology company had not kept up with the changing market conditions in the industry. Personal sales had been replaced by procurements with pressured prices, and the international expansion had not succeeded. Sales growth stagnated, costs were not adjusted and profitability had fallen. Product development was lagging behind and central control was lacking. The situation was acute. A turnaround was necessary.


Mission

While a permanent CEO was being recruited, Nordic Interim engaged an interim CEO to develop a new business plan and action program to turn the company around. The assignment included evaluation of strategies and organization, review of manufacturing, cost reduction and reworking of the budget and implementation of integration of a couple of acquisitions. A major challenge was in getting the employees with them.

Results

  • Market analysis and business plan were implemented to become a more product-driven company
  • A new organization and governance came into place together with a new way of working with clear responsibilities. Instead of subsidiary managers, sales managers were introduced for business areas that control products and assortments
  • Clear communication and crisis awareness were created and regular meetings for dialogue on strategies, problems and opportunities were held
  • Management Assessment and review of management capacity was carried out. Two country managers were replaced and adjustments were made to group management. The recruitment of a new CFO was carried out
  • Started a cost reduction program
  • Seven percent of the staff were dismissed
  • The decision to await internationalisation until profitability has stabilised.

Reflections of the Interim Professional:

“I have more than 20 years of experience from a large international group with a similar target group, so this was an exciting first interim assignment. I had actually retired from operational work and devoted myself to board, mentor and consulting assignments in recent years, but this attracted me!”

“The employees knew that I was an interim manager with the assignment to make a turnaround and develop a new business plan. I was well received because everyone wanted the company to develop in the right direction. Almost surprisingly painless, people contributed to the change and accepted new responsibilities and powers. Several had been waiting for an organizational change and many subsidiary and factory managers were active in the cost reduction program.”

“It was very important to be present at the premises at all times. The former CEO had been invisible and employees were happy to have a more present manager. The first few months I also visited all subsidiaries and factories.”

“The advantage of being interim is to be able to look at the business and what needs to be done objectively. I had no preconceptions and constantly questioned the old ways of working. Every “this is how it is” was met with “why so?” As a result, everyone had to think and reconsider their way of working. The Board wanted to implement the change before a new CEO was appointed and my contract was extended for a total of 15 months. I then joined the board to ensure continuity.”