A&M snaps up senior restructuring experts from Big Four

02 August 2017 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read
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Alvarez & Marsal has appointed two new senior executives from KPMG and EY to further expand the Restructuring practice the firm established earlier this year. The arrival of Paul Kirkbright and Ben Cairns follows a host of senior partners joining from Big Four firm KPMG in response to rapidly growing regulatory requirements which have given the dominant firms’ competitors a new lease of life.

Global professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) has further strengthened its European Restructuring practice and suite of corporate transformation services by welcoming two senior restructuring partners from KPMG and EY respectively.

Paul Kirkbright joins A&M to head up the Creditor Advisory Services team across EMEA. He brings more than 20 years’ experience, covering a wide range of sectors including oil and gas, retail, travel & leisure, infrastructure, technology, construction and manufacturing. As the Global Head of Financial Restructuring at KPMG, he advised stakeholders in stressed and distressed situations on over 40 transactions, with debts in excess of €50 billion. Over the course of his career, Kirkbright has acted on several cases that have led to developments in restructuring practice. Most notably, he was part of a pioneering case with Rodenstock, a German manufacturer of eyewear, during which an English Scheme of Arrangement was used for the first time to restructure a wholly German business.

Paul Kirkbright and Ben Cairns - Alvarez & MarsalJoining from EY, Ben Cairns takes the role of a Managing Director within A&M’s Restructuring practice in London. A fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), Cairns is also member of the ICAEW, a licensed insolvency practitioner for which he also an organisational Council member. He has 16 years of experience advising boards and stakeholders in consensual and non-consensual restructurings and acting as officeholder in restructuring situations, which have provided him with wide-ranging industry expertise. Most notably Cairns previously fulfilled duties as the UK Administrator as part of the Icelandic banking group Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander, along with acting as Provisional Liquidator for The Home Insurance Company, working closely alongside US office holders in developing and paying out from this innovative reinsurance asset sharing scheme.

In his previous position with EY, he acted as a leader of the Financial Services Restructuring team in the UK and Ireland, and A&M will be keen to see him bring this deep understanding of financial services to the role. Cairns’ arrival follows the appointment earlier in the year of former EY director Malay Shah at the firm’s Indian operations.

A&M is rapidly growing in response to regulatory and audit rotation requirements, which have seen competitors in a position to challenge the traditional hegemony of the world’s four largest accountancy and consulting firms. Earlier this year, five senior KPMG partners joined the firm to expand its Restructuring and Corporate Performance Improvement practices including the returns of Patrick Siebert and Pete Gougoujis, who had both previously been poached from A&M by KPMG, while in late 2016, five consultants from EY, Deloitte and KPMG moved to A&M’s Latin American outfit.

Commenting on the appointments, Richard Fleming, Head of European Restructuring at A&M said, “This is an important step in our journey to become the “go-to” restructuring firm in the UK and Europe. Paul and Ben’s extensive experience, particularly in handling cross-border restructuring cases that have involved inventive solutions across a number of jurisdictions, will be invaluable to our clients. As we continue to grow, we expect that other leading industry practitioners will also recognize the opportunities that an independent firm such as A&M can offer.”