Society & Culture

Corporate restructuring expert Al Koch, at the center of GM’s 2009 bankruptcy filing, to speak Feb.

Corporate restructuring expert Al Koch, at the center of GM's 2009 bankruptcy filing, to speak Feb. 25 as part of the Terry Leadership Speaker Series at UGA

Athens, Ga. – Al Koch, the veteran turnaround specialist who was named last year to help guide GM’s management through the automaker’s bankruptcy filing, will speak at the University of Georgia on Thursday, Feb. 25, as part of the Terry Leadership Speaker Series.

Koch’s lecture, which begins at 7 p.m. in room 145 of Brooks Hall, is co-sponsored by the Terry College of Business’s Institute for Leadership Advancement and the accounting honor society Beta Alpha Psi.

Koch is a vice chairman and managing director with AlixPartners LLP, a global business advisory firm. As one of the firm’s senior most members, he has led a wide range of corporate turnarounds and large-scale business restructurings.

Last June, he took on the major assignment of serving as General Motors Corp.’s chief restructuring officer as the company prepared to file the largest industrial bankruptcy in U.S. history. After filing for bankruptcy protection, General Motors completed a quick sale of its “good” assets to a new company, called General Motors Co. (“New GM”).

Koch was then appointed CEO of Motors Liquidation Co. (“Old GM”) and given responsibility for winding down the assets and liabilities of Old GM, which includes efforts to sell, liquidate or spin off the automaker’s non-strategic assets.

In 2002, Koch was appointed the interim chief financial officer of the Kmart Corp. when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In this role, he led the development of a multi-year business plan and provided leadership and credibility to the retailer’s financial functions. Kmart emerged from Chapter 11 in May 2003 and Koch and his restructuring team were recognized by Retailer Merchandiser as the “Retail Executive of the Year.”

Koch also spearheaded the turnaround of Champion Enterprises Inc. that allowed the manufactured-home builder to avoid bankruptcy. As chairman, interim president and CEO at Champion, Koch’s restructuring plans resulted in the company’s market capitalization nearly tripling while operating results improved from a year-to-date loss to a profit.

Before joining AlixPartners, Koch was a partner with Ernst & Young for 14 years, including seven years as managing partner of the firm’s Detroit office. He received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. In addition to being a Certified Public Accountant, he is a Certified Turnaround Professional and a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, its treasurer and a member of its board of directors.He also is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and the American Institute of CPAs.

Koch is the third of four senior executives scheduled to address students this school year through the expanded Terry Leadership Speaker Series. Michele Burns, chairman and CEO of Mercer LLC, spoke Oct. 2, and Peter Foss, an executive with GE, spoke Nov. 20. Jim Reese, president and CEO of Atlanta Union Mission, is scheduled to speak April 2.

The Institute for Leadership Advancement is a leadership development unit housed in the Terry College of Business. Its programs stress the importance of principled leadership based on core values and emphasize leadership as a collaborative process and not as a position. The institute’s ultimate aim is to create a new class of leaders who are well trained and ready for responsibility, committed to stewardship and pursuers of excellence, characterized by integrity and defined by purpose.

Beta Alpha Psi is an honorary and service organization. Its purpose is to advance the study and practice of accounting by providing opportunities for self development and by promoting association among members and professional accountants. UGA’s Beta Upsilon chapter is one of 279 active chapters worldwide.