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Cape Town Conference Recognises Global Interim Opportunities

Cape Town

IXPA’s global partners met in Cape Town recently to share ideas and gain a deep insight into the current worldwide Interim Management market.

Cross-border projects

The past year has seen a significant rise in the number of joint projects between IXPA partners who have been working together to support organisations with interests in multiple countries. These cross-border projects have highlighted the benefit to businesses that come from IXPA having 15 interim management providers based in 19 countries across four continents, each with their own specialist knowledge of the business climate and legislation in their location.

Cross-border projects have included providing an interim finance director in China for a Swiss-based company and reorganisation of the Swiss branch of an Austrian medical devices company.

The IXPA partners involved in the projects said that the strong relationships and deep personal trust that exists between them has been instrumental in successful cross-border delivery. Above all, the cultural understanding that each partner has of their own jurisdiction means there is excellent communication throughout the process, from planning to delivery.

Insights into Global Interim Market

The meeting in Cape Town was a chance for IXPA’s partners to compare notes on the global interim market. The interim management market continues to thrive across Europe with strong growth reported by IXPA’s partners in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria and the UK in particular. This may be due in part to ongoing economic uncertainty across Europe and a drive to restructure and improve efficiency.

In the Netherlands, IXPA’s partner Edelenbos Executive Solutions has reported increased interim activity, 50% of which has involved IT assignments. The Netherlands, like the UK, has a strong culture of utilising targeted expertise to overcome challenges in business. In both countries this demand is fed by a healthy supply of highly experienced freelance consultants who can be a huge asset to organisations, specifically at times of major change. The governments of both countries have been keen to use taxation to deter freelance consultants but Edelenbos believes that these experts still have a strong desire to work independently and take on assignments that interest them and lie within their specialist field.

The UK expects the business climate to remain challenging throughout 2019 due in part to continuing uncertainty over Brexit and the introduction of new tax rules for consultants. Williams Bain, IXPA’s partner in the UK, is pre-empting the taxation challenge by developing its own unique model to support leading experts in key sectors and offer an innovative solution to its clients. Further details of this concept are expected to be rolled out later this year.

The French market remains well-established and is worth around €300 million with 15% growth reported over the past year by Actiss, IXPA’s partner in France. Good managers, especially those with specific skills, are in high demand.

Germany has a large interim management market worth €2.2 billion and there are estimated to be 25,000 interim managers working in the country. IXPA’s partner in Germany, IMS Interim Management Solutions has had a very positive year which it attributes to the fact that it provides solutions to some of the key issues currently facing businesses, especially restructuring assignments.

The Austrian economy is enjoying strong growth at the moment and IXPA’s partner Buehler Management reports that its interim management business is performing well. Our Austrian partner has also been involved in a number of cross-border projects with other IXPA partners.

In Switzerland, our partner ButterflyManager reports that clients are looking for locally based experts with an international background. In a market where it is difficult to find good quality candidates for senior roles, businesses value support from ButterflyManager and IXPA’s global network to find the right people with the skills and knowledge required for the assignment.

Last year IXPA’s partner in Africa, Ambroise Baroan, revealed how he was promoting the benefits of interim management in a country where the concept was still very new.  Since then he has seen 8% growth with a significant proportion of work in business growth, restructuring and transition management. The sales process is still gradual as relationships need to be built and information exchanged to enable organisations to understand the benefits that interim management can bring.

In China, where interim management is also still very much in its infancy, IXPA’s partner Gemini has appointed a new member of the team dedicated to providing experts for interim assignments as they prepare for growth in this area of their business across Asia.

Outlook

The meeting in Cape Town was an opportunity for IXPA’s global partners to exchange knowledge and spend time together both in a business and social capacity. These global meetings are invaluable as IXPA’s partners begin to work more collaboratively to deliver solutions for businesses with interests in multiple countries, an area of work that has grown rapidly during 2018 and looks set to accelerate in 2019.