Next in our list of Inspirational Business Leaders is Paul Aversano the Managing Director with Alvarez & Marsal and the Global Practice Leader of A&M’s Global Transaction Advisory Group.
Paul joined A&M in 2006 to co-found the firm’s Transaction Advisory Group, which he leads globally today. he was recruited to diversify A&M from its heritage as a boutique turnaround, crisis management and restructuring firm. He was tasked to develop the firm’s capability to serve private equity and other clients in the global M&A ecosystem. Today, this private equity business is the largest in the global firm, and the division that he leads has almost 600 professionals across 25 offices in 14 countries and growing.
Paul is the first person in his family to go to college as well as become a professional. he started working several jobs when he was 13 years’ old such as delivering newspapers, a sneaker salesman at a local sporting goods store, valet parking attendant at local country clubs and ultimately mowing lawns to the point where he builds his own landscaping business in high school that he sold to a local landscaper when he went away to college.
Paul started his career as a CPA in the Big Four, Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young. he was selected to start that firm’s new Transaction Services practice; and he was the youngest professional in the group at that time. Upon Arthur Andersen’s collapse, he brought his team to EY where he continued to grow the business until ultimately leaving to start a competing business at A&M.
Following is the highlight of the Interview between Paul and The Tycoon Magazine.
Describe in detail about your company and its unique services.
A&M is a global professional services firm that essentially serves three large constituents as clients: (i) the restructuring, turnaround and crisis management community, (i) Corporates (the Fortune 1000), and (iii) private equity and the M&A ecosystem. We offer a lot of different services for this diverse set of clients, but the common theme is that we are tactical in our approach and focus on providing leadership, action and results.
How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal to the target audience?
A&M offers a very broad mandate to help our clients be successful investors. Accordingly, our role is to integrate all of the firm’s offerings into a suite of services provided by the private equity channel. In today’s environment, clients value this unique approach as it offers a better, more wholistic viewpoint much more efficiently.
How do you strategize your game plans to tackle competition in the market?
I keep an eye on the competition, but the competition is not the focus. We play our own game and to our strengths as a practice and a firm. I focus on what matters and give clients a compelling “why” we are better than the competition. I also cultivate deep relationships with clients, which I know they value. If you do these things effectively, then what the competition does really doesn’t matter.
State us your major achievements and your company’s achievements under your leadership.
Besides building a global practice from scratch in the last 15 years, which is now a market leader, the overall A&M firm, of which I am a part of senior leadership. The firm has grown almost 10 fold in both headcount and revenue during that same period. All of this has been through organic growth, winning clients – we have never acquired another company. Additionally, in navigating global geopolitical events, such as the financial crisis and now COVID-19 Pandemic, we have grown throughout both these periods. During the firm’s 38-year history, A&M has never had layoffs. It is something we as a firm are philosophically opposed to and are very proud of our record.
Brief us about the current industry scenario from your perspective.
The global private equity and M&A market is more robust than ever. There is tremendous capital in the system that is looking for alpha and needing to be deployed. On top of this, record low interest rates, and record high public equity markets. More broadly, the global economy will enter a period of growth coming out of the pandemic and fueled by government stimulus and consumer spending. I believe all of this volatility will continue to create tremendous opportunity.
What were the primal challenges and roadblocks you faced during the initial phase of your career as an entrepreneur?
You don’t know what you don’t know but looking back now: Self-doubt for sure, people and firms that will try to limit your ambitions or tell you that it can’t be done. There is always someone smarter than you, but I never led anyone outwork me.
Where do you see yourself in the near future and what are your future goals?
My long-term vision has always been to build a successful global practice. There is still a lot of work to be done even after 15 years. You have to stay on top of all the changes in the market and keep your finger on the pulse of the practice. You also need to look down the road for several years for both challenges that could derail you as well as opportunities that others may not see. Accordingly, in the business that I lead there is still so much more opportunity to grow and serve larger and more complex clients. As a result, I am more excited for the opportunities I see today than I was even in starting the business 15 years ago.
Describe some of the vital attributes that every entrepreneur should possess.
A positive attitude and a willingness to learn. An appropriate level of self-confidence in your own abilities, to the point where you are willing and comfortable to bet on yourself, but not overly self-confident where you are viewed as arrogant and a rascal. Constantly think and act like an owner. Allow for light bureaucracy and administrative burden. Have a fire in the belly to do what needs to get done to be successful over the long term. Grit. Passion and perseverance to achieve long-term goals. And never compromise ethics and integrity.