Here is a story that is unfolding as we play reporter. Late last year we were called into a conversation that ran somewhat like this. Big Bananas Inc. (the name is fictitious), owned by a dominant conglomerate was on the block. Two suitors came shopping and collectively took a significant stake in Big Bananas. One a private equity investor and the other a global player in the fresh fruits business. Interestingly, neither of the buyers wanted to run the company, they were comfortable being financial investors … so we heard!
Big Bananas had hitherto relied on the parent group and its equity as an employer to draw high calibre talent at a management level. Many high potentials of the group travelled through Big Bananas as a part of their growth path and made noteworthy contributions during the stint.
As the canvas was being painted, here are the images that flashed before us
- Big Bananas operates in an extremely competitive space, one inhabited by traditional and new age players; straddling online and offline models. In this cluttered marketplace, with players striving to be viable, talent holds the key
- Times of transitions come with their share of challenges and problems. The company could not afford to lose its current growth momentum, if even for a while.
- Big bananas, while an established consumer brand, had relied on the parent for too long to draw talent. As an example, young and fresh talent came in as part of a group management trainee program. That tap would run dry
- Current employees took pride from association with a reputed conglomerate. A logo that would disappear from their LinkedIn profiles overnight
- While the buyers were formidable brands, neither of them was about to lend its brand name to Big Bananas. They chose to stay in the background, hence Big Bananas needed for forge ahead with its own identity
- It was still rumoured that the ethos of the company would undergo some change; not something a section of middle and senior managers might be comfortable with. In contrast, some leaders would see it as a splendid opportunity to build something they could put their stamp on
We came, we heard and we said, “Ok, we get the big picture. Enough to base an approach on. You’ll be hearing from us soon”