Kevin Chin, founder and CEO of B Corp accredited investment group Arowana, is known for starting, building, fixing, and scaling up businesses successfully across industries. But perhaps he is best known as “the turnaround guy,” saving companies on the brink of failure.
Once, Kevin managed to pull off the seemingly impossible: he led efforts to rescue a tech firm that only had six weeks of cash left to survive, making it remarkably valuable again in just four years – valuable enough for Oracle to buy the company.
“I felt confident that we could do so successfully because of the extent that we could drill down in due diligence, quantify quite precisely the cost savings, and map out a very detailed turnaround execution plan,” he said in an interview.
The plan was simple: establish a clear and detailed 90-day turnaround plan, execute at least one cost-saving item a day, build from these small wins to gain momentum, and finally hit the target on Day 90.
Kevin also said choosing the right leaders within the organisation and making them adopt the same mentality to execute quickly and decisively on their day-to-day objectives were crucial in the successful turnaround they have managed to pull off.
Doing a complete 180-degree pivot for a company on the brink of collapse was certainly difficult, Kevin added, but he learnt lessons from it, which he was able to apply in the much more challenging turnarounds he faced in subsequent ventures.
“If it had been too easy, I wouldn't have learnt as much I did. It gave me a very comprehensive, hands-on education in all facets of business – from sales to leadership to culture. As a result, I have become a better operator and also a better investor,” he said.
Kevin wrote an extensive account of how he became “the turnaround guy” in HyperTurnaround!: Transforming a Tech Company on the Brink of Collapse into a World Class Global Leader, a book that has been a bestseller among the business community.
Since then, Kevin has served as a leader in different capacities for various companies before founding Arowana. He has become a specialist in addressing pain points and growing complexities faced by emerging companies.
Today, Kevin is a well-travelled business leader and “divides his time” between the UK, Asia and Australia as a global citizen.