Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Salvaging Positives from Distress – A Bankruptcy Lawyer’s View of the Current Global Economic Turmoil

By Robin Keller, Head of the US Business Restructuring and Insolvency Practice at Hogan Lovells US LLP

During the New Hampshire primary, emphasizing lessons learned from his experience as a turnaround manager at Bain & Company, Mitt Romney said he wanted Americans to be able to switch insurance companies if they were unhappy with their service.

"I like being able to fire people who provide services to me," he said. "You know, if someone doesn't give me the good service I need, I want to say, 'You know, I'm going to go get someone else to provide that service to me.'"

This abbreviated articulation of certain fundamentals of the benefits of competition launched a flurry of attacks on Romney’s work investing in and turning around troubled companies while at Bain, including allegations that efforts to turn around firms result in layoffs, plant closures and the like and are destructive. However, even Ron Paul defended Romney, stating that his work at Bain was based on free market concepts. “You save companies, you save jobs when you reorganize companies that are going to go bankrupt," Paul said.

Basic principles of right-sizing a struggling business are now topics of daily discussion on the international scene, as the governments of Germany and France struggle to understand how to rein in Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain, who threaten to take down the financial system that underlies the EU with their excesses of public spending and inadequate developments in revenue generation.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

How Girl Scouts View Leadership

Although today’s young women see the glass ceiling as a very real barrier to career success, most are confident they will live to see a female in the White House.

Last week, Girl Scouts of the USA released the results of a survey that was conducted to better understand how girls ages 8 to 17 view the concept of leadership. The results paint a picture of disquiet about the current business environment, tempered with optimism about the future.

Among the major findings of the study: nearly 60% of girls believe that women can rise up in a company or organization but will rarely make it all the way to the top, and 67% say that women are more burdened than men by family responsibilities as they pursue a career.

Despite their negative view of the current business environment, 78% of the 1,001 survey respondents think they have it much easier than their mothers’ generation did.

Overwhelmingly, the survey respondents expressed strong interest in having current business leaders reach out to them so they might learn from the women’s successes – but many reported they had limited opportunity to interact with successful women.

It may be that today’s leading women hold the key to breaking down barriers for the next generation. How can you support the aspirations of our future female leaders?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

King Peggy, Margaret Thatcher and Meryl Streep

by Randy Segal

People are fascinated with the “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher and with Meryl Streep’s Golden Globe winning portrayal of Mrs. Thatcher.

Is this the result of a fascination with Margaret Thatcher, the first female British prime minister and the longest-serving of the 20th Century, whose strict conservative policies, hard line against trade unions and tough rhetoric in opposition to the Soviet Union earned her the nickname the “Iron Lady”? Or is it simply a result of a remarkable performance by a remarkable actress?

The accolades for Streep’s performance and portrayal were last month at this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, where the performance of Viola Davis, portraying a maid in the civil rights drama “The Help,” took the top honor.

In her acceptance speech, Ms. Davis provided the advice to “Dream big and dream fierce.”

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Resources on Women in Leadership And Management

by Patricia Brannan

To build on the Mind the (Gender) Gap post below, I’d like to offer some resources on the positive side of the equation on women in leadership and management. Every business wants to identify a winning team that creates the best conditions for success. Research data support the proposition that the involvement of women as corporate leaders is correlated with higher profits. Some studies focus on boards, while others highlight the value of women in executive positions.

Here are a few resources that I hope you will find useful...