Case Study

Turnaround of the Year Award—Starfish Family Services

The Detroit Chapter of the Turnaround Management Association (TMA), the international association dedicated to corporate renewal and turnaround management, presented its 2007-2008 Turnaround of the Year Award-Small Company (having revenue up to $50 million) to Fred Leeb on November 6, 2008.

Turnaround of the Year Award winners are judged on the basis of well-defined and measurable outcomes-particularly in operational improvements, the number of jobs saved, the percentage of claims paid to creditors, how the company now rates among the competition and the extent the community and/or the industry was affected by the turnaround.

Turnaround Results

The Turnaround of the Year Award was presented to Fred Leeb for his work to orchestrate the successful turnaround of Starfish Family Services located in Inkster, Michigan. The turnaround team consisted of: Fred P. Leeb– Starfish Interim CEO and Geni Giannotti– Starfish Interim COO.  Both Fred Leeb and Geni Giannotti had 20+ years of experience in for-profit corporate turnaround consulting and they used this expertise to lead Starfish out of financial difficulties to a very strong position. Starfish now is generating consistent operating surpluses and is taking the opportunity to be a leader in the nonprofit community. Fred Leeb said, “It is extremely fulfilling to take on a challenge that not only helps business but also helps the community where the needs are greatest.”

Bill Mitchell, the Starfish Chairman of the Board, said, “We could not be happier with the results achieved in such a relatively short time…. Our relationship with our bank is excellent. Our relationship with the various government agencies that fund our operations has greatly improved as our financial condition has improved. Our auditors are happy with the turnaround…. You were a true partner with the Board and we are very grateful. I can recommend you without reservation….”

Turnaround Methodology

Fred Leeb worked to surmount many of the same problems that typically occur at a troubled for-profit company, such as:

1. Cutting overhead while improving the organization

2. Controlling and strengthening cash flow

3. Growing business revenue and surpluses

4. Improving the timeliness and accuracy of financial reporting and budgeting

5. Tapping underutilized assets to generate cash

6. Improving communications and negotiating with the bank

7. Working in concert with outside auditors to answer their questions and provide accurate information

8. Strengthening employee morale and teamwork