TakingStock – Want to get ahead? Get violent …

Jon Moulton, the corporate raider thinly disguised as a venture capitalist, has finally revealed what turns him on about turnaround finance – violence.

Yes, the chartered accountant head of Alchemy Partners came clean at a recent gathering of R3, the association of business recovery professionals, while putting the boot into the Rover/BMW atrocity.

Moulton, who was paid #1m a week while negotiating with the Germans, listed violence as one of the great attractions over turning around (or smashing to pieces depending on how you look at it) a beleaguered company.

‘Always cut too deep,’ he said. ‘Take out 30 managers when you only need to take out 25 – you can put them back later.’ At one point he reminisced, almost with a tear in his eye, how at one company he walked around firing the managers as he met them.

Another attraction of corporate bloodletting was his fascination with other people’s blunders. He fondly looked forward to writing a book about the disasters he has come across while wielding the knife. What he didn’t want, though, was a book about his own cock-ups. Any volunteers?

Related reading