On Nov. 7, the Broad College welcomed Chuck Moore as the latest guest in the 2019 Roy S. Pung Executive Speaker Series. Moore is a two-time Broad Spartan graduate, completing his Bachelor of Arts in accounting and an MBA in professional accounting in 1994. For more than 20 years, Moore has built a career specializing in operational and financial turnaround and restructuring, an area he calls “the dark side of business.” He is currently a managing director of Alvarez & Marsal, a highly respected global services firm.
“It really is good to be back,” Moore said to the MBA students. He began his address with a personal anecdote about teaching a class in that same lecture hall — room N100 in the Broad Business Complex — as a graduate assistant for Accounting 201 in 1993-1994, the first year the building was opened.
Moore’s presentation was focused on his work with A&M and turnaround and restructuring in general. He broke down various aspects of the restructuring process, including interim management roles, court proceedings, bankruptcy and debt.
“Debt is, by far, the No. 1 factor that causes us to be brought into a situation,” Moore added. “While covenant violations, looming debt maturities and liquidity shortfalls are often the final factors that cause a company to engage a restructuring firm, these things are often brought about by management failure to adapt to business conditions.”
In the first part of his presentation, Moore explained the main objectives in turnaround and restructuring: taking control of the situation, rebuilding stakeholder support, fixing the business and resolving future funding issues.
Although he mentioned the necessity of financial modeling expertise and adaptability, Moore noted how critical soft skills are to the success of a restructuring. These situations can be sensitive for business owners, who sometimes may be replaced in a managerial capacity.
“I spend 50% of my time playing psychologist to clients,” he said. “Most of the time, when they see that behind the scenes, you’re trying to help, most of the time you’re going to get a good response.”
The second part of Moore’s presentation was devoted to two case studies, one in the energy and power generation industry and one in the automotive industry. Although they presented different problems, Moore’s thesis on each case was clear: Regardless of industry, companies need to be concerned with the future and, specifically, how they can remain relevant in that future.
Moore ended by explaining how the Broad College curriculum prepares students for this line of work. He noted how the college maintains a focus on technical skills, which are essential, but also devotes attention to the softer side of business interactions.
“I am a huge fan and proponent of Broad,” Moore said. “There is no question that people who come out of here have such deep knowledge. … At my firm, MSU is a primary source of candidates for hire because we know the quality that we’re getting.”