Turnarounds begin with trust

Turnarounds begin with trust

interview | 2024-06-12

Ryan Looysen is an interim CEO, currently hired on an assignment via Interim Search. He is specialized in helping companies overcome obstacles and is somewhat of a turnaround expert. After many transformation assignments he has useful advice for companies that need a consultant to drive change: turnarounds begin with trust.

Ryan Looysen has been helping companies overcome their challenges for 20 years. As a matter of fact, one of the first companies he went to was months away from bankruptcy when he was appointed. Today he is an interim CEO who specializes in turnarounds and who’s expertise is to analyze companies and execute necessary changes. “Working as I do is a very fun way to build a career, each assignment and organization is like a big, complex puzzle. I enjoy being part of the solution to make a company more profitable and successful. Great companies don’t know they’re great until they are given the circumstances to be great, through the right goals and ways of working,” he says.

What are the right circumstances for a turnaround then?
Transparency from the customer is number one. Number two is no “holy cows” – meaning that nothing is off limits. To do my job I need a carte blanche to change what needs to be changed. This can be sensitive to some customers – maybe they have invested in a certain project, or they have their core products and core strategy that they don’t want me to interfere with.

What’s beneficial about making a turnaround project into an interim assignment?
An interim manager has a diverse experience and a broad skill set from seeing many different companies. We also have one clear assignment to deliver on and typically aren’t afraid to voice concerns and ask questions early on.

As an interim CEO you don’t always have a lot of time, how do you conduct your analysis quickly?
First, I’m a very curious person who’s obsessed with business – some people follow sports, I follow businesses. I also have a lot of experience and my analysis is multi-faceted and informed by all the accumulated experience I bring with me. Most of the time it’s fundamental things when a company has lost its way. What I do is not revolutionary – I look at if the company is making enough money and see what we can do to be profitable, or more profitable, which involves revenue as well as cost control. Important questions for me are generally what can we adjust and are we letting the right things guide us?

What is your current assignment?
A very fun project at a company that has rapidly accelerated by acquiring new brands and needs help to stabilize and then drive top and bottom line growth. We are reorganizing, transitioning for growth, and are moving towards expanding and developing the different brands.

What has been key factors for you to be successful in this turnaround?
Trust from the beginning – which is so important. The owners and the founder gave me full support from day one. This is something that other clients’ needs to know – you should do everything to make sure that your interim manager has the right circumstances to excel.  

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