Interlink was a London based retail banking software and services company of 125 people and £24m turnover and had made significant annual losses over a four year period. The company specialised in software to drive ‘hole in the wall’ cash dispensers and software for clearing payments through VISA and MASTERCARD.
CR2 was a 200 person, Dublin based, VC backed pre revenue company that specialised in e-banking software and they wanted to acquire INTERLINK through funding from their backers. However CR2 was still to prove itself and the backers said they would only back the acquisition of a loss making business if an experienced turnaround professional was engaged. Michael Tait was selected as INTERLINK’s Interim Group CEO.
The challenges were; four years of loss making, a dysfunctional board, lots of people leaving including key second tier management, cash problems, tired products and an unproductive R&D programme.
Mike managed to persuade all the leavers to stay and work with him. He personally interviewed over a hundred of the staff within his first few months which uplifted staff morale and motivation. Mike set up weekly staff update meetings to aid effective communication in both directions.
Mike compiled an assessment report on the issues of the business and his strategy on saving the company. This was agreed with investors and executed over a six month period. All the old directors left the business on acquisition and Mike carried out all their functions with the support of second level management.
Key achievements were: not a single person left the company throughout the assignment; staff morale was high; within three months cash was being sent to the CR2 parent in Ireland; and the company had the highest sales month in history on Mike’s last month with the business.