Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Anatomy of a Turnaround: YRC Worldwide

After seven years of financial turmoil, the big trucking company finally exits survival mode
This is the first in a series of six articles about the volatile financial misfortunes and turnaround of trucking company YRC Worldwide.

If there were a Comeback Player of the Year award for corporate performance, YRC Worldwide might have taken home the trophy for 2014. Not that the $5 billion trucking company is now a superstar — far from it. Rather, such recognition would be testimony to how low YRC had sunk.

After years of finance jockeying that barely kept the company from tripping into bankruptcy, its footing is relatively secure now. A smorgasbord of entwined elements converged in the rescue: a new labor deal, a deft debt restructuring, an equity offering that allowed for debt paydown, an operational downsizing, the improving economy, and plain luck.

The seeds of the turnaround were sown in 2011, when James Welch and Jamie Pierson came on board as chief executive and CFO, respectively, replacing top executives who had come under heavy fire for their management decisions. Indeed, their arrival may have ultimately proved to be the biggest factor of all.

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