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The Comeback Kids

Lessons from Successful Turnarounds

For leadership teams, turning around a troubled company represents the truest test of their performance. The 11 stories here detail some of the most successful turnaround initiatives in the world over the past decade. Facing clear challenges, these companies—the Comeback Kids—have taken the tough measures necessary to dramatically improve their profit margins and generate substantial value for shareholders. As a group, they have outperformed the S&P Global 1200 by 46 percentage points since 2013. They illustrate the value of strong and decisive leadership and a structured approach to turnarounds—in situations where the stakes could not be higher. 

Explore the case studies below or download the full report.

BOSTON SCIENTIFIC: Creating a Bold Strategy
The medical device company positioned itself for the future by focusing on innovation, thinning out bureaucracy, and helping teams collaborate.

NOKIA: Reprogramming for Growth
In the latest transformation in Nokia’s 150-year history, the company, once a dominant player in mobile phones, rebuilt itself as a world leader in telecom infrastructure.

“Even if a company doesn’t think digital is a part of the turnaround strategy, it needs to be.”

“Companies that are strong today can see disruption on the horizon, and performance just two years out is far from given.”

OLYMPUS: Refocusing on Core Strengths
As smartphones cut into camera sales and health care reform hurt the medical imaging business, Olympus restored itself by investing in markets where it was already strong.

Ajinomoto: Diversifying into New Markets
Suffering from intense price competition, the Japanese chemical and flavorings company shifted away from commodity offerings and developed specialty products for new customers.

Lanxess: Forging Strategic Partnerships
When low oil prices brought on new rivals, the specialty petrochemicals manufacturer fought back by cutting costs and partnering with one of the world’s biggest oil companies.