Paul J. Siegenthaler

Living in 6 countries on 2 continents, and working closely with teams located in 19 countries in 8 different industries in business integration scenarios has provided me with a strong awareness of the diversity of business cultures that can exist, and the challenge of defining and building on common ground.

From General Management to M&A

Following my MBA from London Business School, my initial background was in General Management, running a private company in the beverage industry which was subsequently acquired by United Distillers, a division of Guinness PLC. This was my first experience of integrating a family owned business into a large multinational company.
 
I then gained similar experience in larger companies located in Austria and then in Germany, in each case restructuring and integrating former private companies acquired by United Distillers.
 
In 1997, Guinness and GrandMet merged to form Diageo. From my former position as Managing Director for the German market, I was appointed Integration Director for Europe, in charge of preparing, coordinating and driving the integration of Diageo’s sales and distribution companies across 12 European markets, “translating” the high-level strategic approach which had been developed by Diageo’s consulting partners into actionable steps which could be implemented in each country to successfully integrate the local companies in those twelve countries.
 
This was followed by a three-way integration in France and finally the integration of 9 business units across the USA and Canada following the acquisition by Diageo of part of the former Seagrams company.
 
Since leaving Diageo in 2006 to continue integrating companies in a variety of industries, my industry exposure has broadened to include food manufacturing, food service, on-line travel, telecommunications, logistics, secondary packaging and micro-vending. The art of business integration is not sector related : the Executive team of my client companies have an in-depth understanding of their industry; I in turn have repeated front-line experience of complex integrations spanning geographical and cultural divides. Together we have the knowledge and expertise to execute smooth and successful post-M&A integrations regardless of the sector.

What they say about me 
 
"Paul's ability, experience, and common sense approach in leading a major change programme have created significant value for our Group. His commitment and enthusiasm are infectious. He led the integration process from start to finish to deliver the challenging goals we had set. His expertise, excellent interpersonal and communication skills were major factors in our success in bringing the two companies together so quickly" - Mike Arrowsmith, CEO LINPAC Group
 
"Paul Siegenthaler's experience as a practicing manager in the field of international M&A is unrivalled. His insights and advice are invaluable. I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone thinking about M&A as route to growing business or improving public service efficiencies" - Professor Christopher Bones, Dean, Henley Business School, University of Reading
 
“Paul is a man of huge integrity who will work tirelessly to create value no matter how difficult the situation and is not afraid to put his body and soul on the line for the right cause.  Somebody who you wanted on the team when times got tough”
Ian Meakins, CEO, Woolseley PLC (formerly CEO of Alliance Unichem PLC)
 
“Paul is one of those rare multi-cultural fast-paced (work hard- play hard) trouble-shooters you can put into any part of the world trusting to solve the issue at hand and lead people through major change and challenging times. He thrives on “impossible complex intellectual challenges “. With his exceptional brain power Paul will reframe these “elephants” into digestible bits and then lead his project teams up-front and by example. Building on his multi lingual and - cultural interpersonal skills he is able to maintain momentum in teams when most people would otherwise throw in the towel. In fact, his understanding of what makes people tick in diverse cultures will often result in a multiplier effect by getting his teams to work harder towards a common purpose (while ensuring at the same time also to have fun). Personally I am fortunate to have worked with Paul and still appreciate today our close contact as he is not only one of the most capable professional persons I have ever encountered but also a fun person to be with” - Christian Van Der Haagen - Managing Partner B4B Ventures
 
“Paul is the best people manager I have ever worked with or for. He truly cares for and knows the members of his team not just as employees but as people. He inspires, in his team, loyalty and a desire to go above and beyond to ensure the program’s success. He ensures that hard work and long hours are mixed with fun and laughter. Paul knows how to effectively manage stakeholders – formal and informal – at all levels within the business. He knows what is required to build a winning team and how to manage the various personalities that are a natural part of any large, complex implementation with impossible time lines. When something isn’t working, he is quick to take the required action to remedy the situation and ensure the program remains on track”. - Sharon Wayne, MBA, Director Process Improvement Finance DIAGEO North America
 
“Paul is a highly professional interim Executive, with a huge depth of experience in change management / integration. He builds strong relationships with the client and colleagues and due to his clarity of vision he is able to energise, influence and drive projects in difficult circumstances, ensuring the delivery of successful outcomes. He is also extremely personable and a pleasure to work with”. - David Williams, Principal at The FD Centre

The bridge between strategy and implementation 

My role is to establish and drive the link between strategic intent and implementation :
A fairly simple business case of why two companies should join forces to gain a strategic advantage can turn out to have very complex implications when it comes to executing the integration.
 
This is where repeated experience provides a distinct advantage : defining the key deliverables required to implement a strategic intent, breaking these deliverables into their sub-components, understanding the interdependencies between those components, defining the optimal sequence of implementation steps, and having an understanding of the skill-sets and quantity of resource required to carry out the work successfully is something one gathers over time as one lives through a number of M&A integrations and gathers knowledge. Companies which have grown by repeated acquisitions tend to have an excellent track record at integrating the string of companies they acquired. Not only have they developed a sense of realism in assessing the size and complexity of the task, but they have also attracted and retained the type of leadership talent needed to drive sustainable change with minimal adverse impact on their day-to-day business.
 
But there’s always a first time or a situation in which a company does not possess that skill set in-house, or might have lost it over the years, and needs to assurance of being successful in a forthcoming merger or acquisition. A failed or suboptimal integration can severely penalise a business : there is a lot at stake. Before taking undue risks by embarking onto a journey into unchartered territory, it’s worth having a detailed conversation with someone who can provide those missing skills and experience. I am one such person, with the linguistic capability needed to also integrate companies across the boundaries of most European countries.
 
There are a handful of similar implementation experts in Europe, but since you have found me here why not contact me : we can discuss your circumstances, exchange ideas and identify key challenges, after which you can determine whether your in-house resources and capability will suffice or whether we might embark on all or part of the integration journey together.
 
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