Paola Mucci, Partner, Duke&Kay, Italy
Paola Mucci, Partner, Duke&Kay, Italy

Paola Mucci is the HR Equity Partner at our Italian partner Duke&Kay. We have talked to her about the Italian Interim Management market and how they work to solve their clients’ challenges.

Paola has more than 20 years of experience in Human Resources Management and has worked for several medium/large-sized companies in various industries and in challenging contexts of different organisational and strategic complexity. Her professional expertise lies in the search and selection processes, assessment centres, headhunting, and providing clients with permanent and interim solutions.

In the last five years, the Interim Management market has both developed and changed also due to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, which has highlighted structural weaknesses and a poor ability to react to many companies. New measures to handle the crisis and provide new and effective tools to prevent complex situations were introduced by the government during the pandemic, and Duke&Kay is always close to the client with updated tools and instruments to cope with new challenges. The growing complexity and uncertainty of global markets has increased the demand for high-level skills. Organisations need to change in terms of process review, repositioning, implementation of new business models, and financial recovery. Private companies make up most of the Italian interim management market and only 2% is in the public sector.

What does your business model look like?

“Duke&Kay has a unique approach closely linked to our long-standing experiences in the field of industrial specific restructuring, competence in corporate finance and bankruptcy laws, as well as the ability to select managers who can act in a period of transition and to hold key positions to improve the situation and to achieve the desired results.

We distinguish ourselves in the market by leading restructuring teams in collaboration with other trusted advisors chosen by the client to set up business plans, discuss and share these with the third-party auditor and even by running the operations.

Moreover, we work with stakeholders and lenders to reach the restructuring agreements. Managing a distressed company requires that you bring together and coordinate specialists such as specialised financial advisors and lawyers experienced in bankruptcy laws, to negotiate with key stakeholders. Once the agreements are reached, we can immediately deploy the plan where each Interim Executive of the restructuring team assumes a specific responsibility as CRO, CEO, CFO etc. in accordance with the agreement.

A Duke&Kay team often plays a critical role together with the CRO and the other executives taking over the restructuring leadership by managing the various stakeholders, while the internal management team continues to oversee the day-to-day business operations. In addition, part of our compensation is directly linked to the objectives’ achievement.”

What type of assignments are most in demand?

“We mainly work with turnarounds and restructuring assignments. Not only industrial and financial turnarounds, but also to support the recovery/improvement of the corporate performance:

  • Reorganisation, repositioning, optimisation, and results improvement
  • Finding the right industrial and/or financial partners to support growth
  • Management of structural change processes (for example generational transition)
  • Supporting relations with PE funds and/or investors
  • Negotiations in M&A processes and extraordinary financial transactions
  • Internationalisation

We also meet our customers’ requirements by providing functional executives, e.g., within general management, finance, supply chain and business process reengineering, operations, HR, and digital and commercial strategy (mainly within manufacturing and engineering, healthcare, transport & logistics, and FMCG).

From our point of view, project management roles have been among the most in-demand roles in the last two years, linked to the peak of M&A activity that characterises the international market. However, this is currently slowing down due to the complex and uncertain macroeconomic situation caused by the war in Ukraine. Italian subsidiaries of multinational companies and foreign PE firms’ investments represent a very important part of the Italian Interim Management market. Thanks to our international network, we can meet all our customers’ needs, even abroad.”

What characterises a successful Interim Manager?

“To be a successful Interim Manager it is necessary to have acquired solid industrial/functional expertise, as these are directly involved in the companies’ activities, but above all they need to possess soft skills like leadership, resilience, flexibility, and spirit of collaboration to lead projects and to drive change. The assignments are six months or longer and require a full-time commitment. The average age of an Interim Manager is 50-55 years, having at least five years of experience as an Interim Professional in top management roles. It is mandatory to have a professional experience from different industries, different company sizes and complexity, so that they have the ability to adapt conventional organisational models to new contexts.”

When is Interim Management the best solution?

“Engaging an Executive Interim Manager is an excellent solution when you need to raise the quality of the management, lower the costs of the business, but above all to start talking about cultural changes. This should not be confused with just temporarily replacing a manager but seeing him/her as a change leader and a strategic business partner.”

Read more here:

#InterimManagement #Duke&Kay #Italy #InterimManagementItaly

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