How do you top yourself if you've co-headed a global bank's corporate finance team and run a prime industry group for a major investment bank - all by the age of 34? In the market for a fresh challenge, former HSBC and CSFB banker John Reynolds quit the latter firm in June 2001 to mount a management buyout of a company he declines to identify. Although he managed to raise financing from London-based venture capital fund Star Capital Partners, the MBO fell through in January when the corporate parent of his target was itself bought. Now, after a brief sabbatical that included ice climbing in the Scottish highlands, Reynolds is back in business.
The onetime Cambridge theology student is going to put his skills to work in one of the fastest-growing fields: corporate turnarounds. He is launching a European turnaround and M&A business for U.S. restructuring specialists Houilhan Lokey Howard & Zukin, out of offices on Pall Mall, just around the corner from Buckingham Palace.
"We are the doctors treating patients in intensive care," insists Reynolds, countering the prevalent European notion that turnaround artists scavenge wounded companies. Reynolds, whose domain at CSFB was utilities - he counted Calpine, Innogy Holdings and Scottish Power among his clients - won't say which companies appear on Houlihan Lokey's critical list. European defaults are soaring, however, and that has to be good news.