Annual Conference 2014

Our 5th Annual ATTA Conference held in Hong Kong on 7 & 8 November 2014 was our best to date.

With a record number of delegates and an impressive range of speakers, the Conference yet again became the meeting place for leading transformation and turnaround professionals in Asia.

Below are links to information on some of the sessions held over the Conference.

Click here for photos of the Conference.


Laurel Marshall, 
Ian Schubach

How to use Neuroscience Advances in Transformations

Mike Murphy
Asia Pacific Turnaround and Restructuring Outlook 2014

Chaim Estulin, Jeff Sprafkin, Salman Bokhari

How to make money out of transformation & turnaround?

Rupert Purser, Glenn Darwin, Stan Lamb
Low Flyers: Transformation & turnaround opportunities in the aviation, infrastructure, mining and construction sectors

Bill Sims
Game of Shadows: The Growing Threat of Dark Public Relations

Lesli Ligorner, Ben Wootliff

Corruption or Business-as-Usual? Are Governments Serious about Stopping Corruption?

George Kelakos
Thailand: Operating in a Volatile Regulatory and Governance Regime

John Shelley
White Water Transformation

Kerry Hui
Personal Security and Vulnerability in a Turnaround, Transformation or Confrontation

Jim Dubow
Adam Salzer

Measuring Intangible Risk:Corporate Culture and Behaviours

Warren Wisnewski
Guy Facey

SME Culture & Behaviour: Challenges Posed by Mid Market Transformation & Turnarounds

 Other Conference Information

 Conference Agenda

 Bio Pack of Delegates

 Delegates List

***  5th Annual ATTA Conference 2014  ***

Day One – Friday 7 November 2014

The Conference started with Laurel Marshal and TC Ng from HP and Ian Schubach, Director, Peak Teams outlining to the delegates how they had used advances in neuroscience to implement a considerable transformation at HP.  It was a fascinating session taking us from the plains of Africa to the bridges of Asia and everywhere in between.  The core message was the need to create trust with people when implementing change and to make sure you do connect with them, tapping into the emotional side to enforce the message you are looking to convey.

Mike Murphy, Managing Director, AlixPartners gave the delegates an update on their Asia Pacific Turnaround and Restructuring Outlook 2014.  This generated a lively discussion from the floor which added even more meat to the detailed insight presented.  Questions such as who is buying China’s assets, looking at how many economies are reliant on China for inward investment and the need to turnaround as opposed to offload when there is no-one to offload to.

Chaim Estulin, Deputy Editor, Debtwire, facilitated a panel discussion with Jeff Sprafkin, Managing Director, Media Pacific Ltd and Salman Bokhari, Managaing Director, SIDRAPEX Pte Ltd on how to make money out of transformation and turnaround.  Tying in with the earlier HP session, a key theme was the need to develop trust with clients, especially family businesses, before you can do work for them.  It was noted how clients respond to creative billing solutions, such as equity + cash, and a discussion was had around the situations in which you would or would not do this.  Other comments included the need to not do anything for free upfront and not to heavily discount upfront as that leaves you unable to charge properly going forward.  There was also much discussion around the different approaches taken when dealing with different cultures.

Looking at turnarounds in asset-heavy industries, Rupert Purser, Head of Business Consulting & Risk Advisory, AMEA, Hill International, Inc. talked about current trends in the construction, infrastructure and mining industries and the need to ensure that construction projects in distress are turned around instead of liquidated.  Glenn Darwin, who formerly worked with Air Canada during its restructuring, shared his insights into turning around airlines and gave an overview of the current state of play for several regional airlines.  Stan Lamb, CEO, Texon International Group, shared his experience with the shoe component manufacturer, adding that the industry was facing a period of consolidation which could generate opportunities for turnaround and transformation professionals.  Stan also talked about his time restructuring a mine in South Africa in 1990s.

With a session title akin to a novel title from J K Rowling – ‘Game of Shadows: The Growing Threat of Dark Public Relations’- Bill Sims, Managing Director, FTI Consulting, had the delegates intrigued before he even started.   The content of his presentation was fascinating as he explained what dark PR (‘DPR’) was and ways in which it is used.   It generated considerable discussion and examples of DPR instances were shared by the delegates.

Day Two – Saturday 8 November

Lesli Ligorner, Partner, Simmons & Simmons and Ben Wootliff, General Manager for Hong Kong from Control Risks opened the second day of the Conference by engaging the delegates in a thought-provoking discussion on corruption and how to deal with it practically.  Suggestions came up such as don’t base your compensation as a turnaround professional, or the compensation of senior management, on sales figures if compensation was previously based on sales targets which themselves were based on corrupt practices and discussions on how do you continue with a healthy business if you are likely to lose profit and/or market share in order to clean up.  Ben talked about some clients segmenting their market depending on how prevalent corruption is.  

Thailand-based George Kelakos of Kelakos Advisors LLC talked about the issues professionals can face when dealing with turnarounds in Thailand and the need to understand the culture and how to work around difficulties.  Of importance is the need to have the right local team in place to implement change.

The delegates were fortunate to hear from John Shelley, Chief Risk Officer, Asia Pacific for RBS about the banking crisis, the state of RBS then and the significant changes that have been made both within RBS and the financial system as a whole.  An interesting discussion was had surrounding the past, current and future role of regulators and their impact on the global financial system.  John was able to talk about his experiences being involved in transformation on the way up and turnaround on the way down, describing it as “fixing a plane while flying it” and the need to have independent risk departments to challenge business decisions that may be too risky.

Kerry Hui, Managing Director, Key Link Group provided an overview of key issues to be aware of when doing business in China, using GSK as a case study.  The discussion from the floor evolved into the finer points of private investigation in China and what is and is not permissible and whether personal risks in China have increased for foreign residents (the general consensus was that it hadn’t and it was still safer in the top tier cities than in many others globally).

Continuing the theme of culture and its importance within an organisation, especially at a time of change, were Adam Salzer, Managing Director, PwC Advisory and Jim Dubow, Managing Director, Alvarez & Marsal.  Their session looked at who “owns” the culture within a firm and the need to have a Chief Ethics/Conduct Officer who has that responsibility, the need to define what kind of behaviour you want and how to measure and reward employees for displaying the behaviours the organisation is looking for.  Other topics included giving employees permission to give bad news and the need to harmonise with cultures.


The final session of the Conference was from Warren Wisnewski, China Managing Director, East West Associates and Guy Facey of Facey & Associates, again on culture and behaviour, specifically on the challenges posed by these in mid-market transformations and turnarounds.  Warren’s discussion focused on how China has changed and is changing from a cultural and behavioural perspective and provided a number of case studies.  Guy discussed the finer points of due diligence and its importance, in particular how the process generally work in relation to entrepreneurs.


Our thanks to PwC for their ongoing support of ATTA and to our media partner, Debtwire.


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