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Chief Restructuring Officer – Coach or commander?

May 12, 2016

Leading change

In times of crisis, true leadership is needed more than ever. Companies rely on Chief Restructuring Officers to help them through turbulent changes, but demands on CROs are rising due to several factors: their work is increasingly international in scope, change management is growing in importance, and they face an extremely disruptive business environment. Our exclusive survey of 90 restructuring experts in Germany looks at the communications and leadership skills necessary for success in this key role.

Coach or commancer? A modern CRO can be both - depending on the circumstances
Coach or commancer? A modern CRO can be both - depending on the circumstances

The goal of every CRO has to be to stay in the driver’s seat throughout the turnaround process. Half of the restructuring experts we spoke to said they favored a small circle of decision-makers and relatively little participation, arguing that CROs should not let go of the reins. But according to our survey, a too authoritarian leadership style can also be counterproductive. “Companies’ chief restructurers obviously need to have a sound grasp of the figures,” says Sascha Haghani, Roland Berger's Managing Director for Germany and head of the group’s Restructuring & Corporate Finance Competence Center. "But at the same time, they must be able to get people to buy into the restructuring concept.”

When communicating with relevant stakeholder groups, this means three things: First, making their performance visible and consolidating their authority by demonstrating expertise and problem-solving ability. Second, building and strengthening trust in the CRO by showing themselves to be someone who is approachable and a person of integrity. Third, as a good communicator, the CRO has to reconcile the interests of key stakeholders with the restructuring concept and build consensus on important questions.

When compared to our last survey, CRO's priorities have undergone a marked shift. Among the top three, classic liquidity management has lost relevance, and market conditions and personnel management are now calling for more attention. In this publication, we show that the CRO role is not just evolving, but is also growing in its overall significance.

  • Photo credit: mbbirdy / Getty Images


Chief Restructuring Officer – Coach or commander?


Communications and leadership skills for companies' chief restructurers are more important than ever.

Published May 2016. Available in