Russ Banham

Russ Banham
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Russ Banham (russ@russbanham.com) is a contributing writer to Chief Executive

Off-Roading Your Way to Financing

Crowdfunding and other alternative paths to capital are drawing in the crowds.

EVA and the Private Company

What can “economic value added,” increasingly considered the public company’s preferred performance metric, do for your company?

Failing—to Win

How leaders turn fumbles into fodder for success.

Appraising Performance Appraisals

How the best companies assess employee performance—and what you can learn from them.

M&A Takeaways for Mid-Size Companies

Just because a company is smaller than an M&A-eating behemoth the size of Procter & Gamble doesn’t mean it can’t pick up a few morsels of wisdom from its experience. That’s the word from Mitchell L. Marks, professor of business at San Francisco State University, and an M&A consultant on the side. The same lessons apply, whether the deal steals headlines or not. “Many CEOs of midsize and smaller businesses deny or think they are immune to the perils of M&A difficulties,” says Marks, author of Joining Forces—Making One Plus One Equal Three in Mergers and Acquisitions. “They’re not, and in some cases there’s more to be concerned about.” He explains that small and midsize company “lack the luxury of a large corporation’s corporate staff and the ‘bench strength’ of up-and-coming, high-potential junior executives to manage the merger while keeping the business running.” In such cases, “the acquiring entity can be overwhelmed by the rigors and requirements of M&A integration,” Marks says. “Don’t delude yourself that doing the deal is the hardest part of a transaction. It isn’t. As one of my CEO clients said, buying a company is fun; integrating it is hell.” What’s the secret then in adding up two companies’ strengths and synergies and not ending up with a negative number? “A CEO of a midsize company needs to understand first the synergies and cost savings represented by the deal, and then not overpay for this value,” says Michael Burdi, portfolio consultant at corporate performance advisory firm Applied Finance Group. “If you pay a great price and have great synergies, you will likely succeed at adding value. If you pay a fair price and have great synergies you will likely get an average return. Valuation is the closest thing to the law of gravity that we have in finance. It is the primary determinant of longterm returns.” Practice makes perfect, Marks chimes in. “The best and smartest players in the M&A game have done multiple deals—they learn from their mistakes, and know what they can do on their own and what they need from external consultants,” he says. “The CEOs of large companies with great M&A track records also leave their egos at the door, knowing they can’t possibly bat 1,000 in this game, given the challenges of integration. That doesn’t stop them from trying, however.” Read: 4 Secrets of Great Deal Makers: Making the Most of M&Amp;A Deals.

M&A: Adding Up the Numbers

How does one define M&A success? Chief Executive reached out to two respected corporate performance consultancies—EVA Dimensions and Applied Finance Group—and put the question to them.

Making the Most of M&A Deals

What is it that separates winners from losers in M&A transactions? To get a grip on the answer, Chief Executive turned to some of the world’s top dealmakers.

Two for the Road

Are two heads better than one? When it comes to leading an organization, whether it’s a large, global enterprise or a small mom and pop shop, the answer seems to be yes. While some co-CEO arrangements enjoy the brief bliss of a Kardashian wedding, most stand the test of time.

Co-CEOs: Are Two Better than One?

The answer seems to be yes, two are better than one. Performance data for 30 companies that transitioned from a traditional single-CEO leadership to a co-CEO structure showed a positive reaction from the market.

Mergers and Acquisitions: A Deal Gone Wrong

For our November/December 2011 issue, former CEO and chairman of Procter & Gamble A.G. Lafley tells Chief Executive about an acquisition gone wrong.
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