Restructure This! Episode 19: Turnaround and Performance Improvement Strategies with Kobus van der Zel


Sheppard Mullin's Restructure THIS! podcast explores the latest trends and controversies in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, commercial insolvency and distressed investing. In this week's episode, we're joined by Kobus van der Zel, the owner of Ravinia Capital Performance Improvement, a financial advisory and investment firm in Chicago. In his conversation with host Justin Bernbrock, Kobus explains what his engineering background, military service in South Africa and the Myers-Briggs personality test has to do with financial turnarounds.


What We Discussed in This Episode:

  • Looking back over your 20-year-plus turnaround career, what are some of the significant trends you've observed?
  • What could those trends foreshadow for the future?
  • At what point might events in the natural world, particularly the impacts of climate change, start driving "winters" in the economic cycle?
  • How do trends in the context of credit cycles and special asset groups typically materialize for small family enterprises all the way up to sponsor-backed companies?
  • Could advisory, service-based firms in the restructuring industry better use social media and multimedia platforms to drive business development?
  • What are some of the challenges and strategies that come into play when exiting a business?

About Kobus van der Zel

With more than 28 years of experience in business improvement, Kobus van der Zel is passionate about helping overleveraged companies reverse the root causes of past underperformance, return to market-share growth, and achieve optimum business value in future sale transactions. As the owner of Ravinia Capital Performance Improvement, he works with business owners to realize higher valuations and effectuate successful turnarounds when they need it most. Over the last several years, Kobus has successfully guided numerous middle-market companies, including Swisher Hygiene, West Coast Commercial Printer, and Cycle Force, through the turnaround process. He is author of the 2011 book, The Forces of Progress, an exploration of the factors that fuel or hamper progress in modern companies. 

About Justin Bernbrock

Justin Bernbrock is a partner in the Finance and Bankruptcy Practice Group in Sheppard Mullin's Chicago office, where he focuses on all aspects of corporate restructuring, bankruptcy and financial distress. He represents clients across a wide range of matters, including debtor and creditor representations. He has substantial experience in out-of-court and in-court restructurings, primarily in the Southern District of New York, Eastern District of Virginia, District of Delaware and Southern District of Texas.

Contact Information

Kobus van der Zel

Justin Bernbrock


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