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7 Questions with Paul Fioravanti
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7 Questions with Paul Fioravanti
Name: Paul Fioravanti
Current title: CEO & Managing Partner
Current organization: QORVAL
In 2011, Paul Fioravanti joined QORVAL, a renowned boutique management consulting and advisory firm founded in 1996 by his mentor and partner, turnaround expert and six-time Fortune 500 CEO, James R. “Jim” Malone (1942-2021). Paul is a proven leader who has amassed broad and deep experience in CEO, COO, CRO (Chief Restructuring Officer) and president roles across myriad industries. His emphasis is a thorough, sustainable plan and careful management of stakeholders; his approach is a deep involvement and mastery of the financial, operational and market challenges companies face, and a specific data-driven and results-based tactical execution plan driven by shared KPI’s and other metrics. Paul is known for his fierce work ethic, objective analysis, extensive network, and ability to assemble the best people, resources and strategies for impactful transformation of organizations.
Paul recently led a long-term retail client through a growth and restructuring plan, guiding them to focus, and profitability, enabling them become a publicly traded company through a reverse merger. Also, among Paul’s recent accomplishments was leading, as CEO, the complex turnaround of a private equity-owned global pharmaceutical CDMO (contract development and manufacturing organization) with nine global operations employing 2,000 people and generating $350 million in revenue, producing a mix of API (active pharmaceutical ingredient), oral solid dose, sterile fill and finish, and pharmaceutical packaging products and services for Pfizer, Merck, AstraZeneca, GSK and others. Paul’s leadership took the company’s EBITDA from negative $50K to a positive $32MM, and in less than one year, he stabilized and returned the company to profitability while managing banking relationships, key customer relationships and regulatory compliance, restructuring in excess of $150MM in debt, and driving resource efficiency and operational excellence.
Previously, Paul led the turnaround and sale of the one of the largest NYC metro based wireless infrastructure companies, which was successfully sold to a $4B private equity group, the turnaround and sale of a $250MM recreational marine vessel manufacturer, turnaround of a $300MM HVAC industrial manufacturer, advisory for the divestiture of a healthcare anesthesia practice chain to a public company, financial and operational restart (out of an Article 9 sale) of a specialty metals industry manufacturer, and has been called on by larger consulting and advisory firms to assist on their most challenging and difficult projects.
Earlier in his career, Paul worked directly for the CEO in a publicly held regional energy and utility services holding company, led a startup construction and utility services company to the Inc.500 for four consecutive years (which was ultimately acquired by a private equity firm) and has since has gained additional experience in more than 65 engagements in more than 35 industries including: aerospace, automotive, construction, energy and utilities, defense, electronics, healthcare, logistics, telecommunications, transportation, manufacturing (various), metals manufacturing and processing, public sector, and higher education. He has advised on successful startups, growth strategies, strategic and financial exits of businesses, and has led LEAN- and 5S-based process improvement and operational excellence programs, and post-merger integrations.
He advises private equity groups, private investors, angel funds, organizations, and also mentors companies (including a start-up which won on “Shark Tank”) and community and civic organizations and has lectured undergraduate and MBA-level courses. He holds three degrees (BS, MPA, MBA) from The University of Rhode Island and received a Dean’s Award in 2010 for urban grant work, holds an advanced degree from Bryant University (CAGS) and is a graduate of Leadership Rhode Island. He is a member of the Turnaround Management Association (TMA), The Institute of Management Consultants, The American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI), The Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), Association of Merger & Acquisition Advisors (AM&MA), and is a founding member of the Tampa chapter of the Private Directors Association. He is an active speaker, subject matter expert, and has published hundreds of articles on a range of business topics in business and industry social media and publications. He is a Certified Turnaround Professional. He is available as a board member and advisor.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Ironically it is often easier to manage a larger enterprise, especially when you have the advantage of having wider resources and more people to engage in projects, tasks and deliverables.
Generally regardless of the size of an enterprise, time management, prioritization, and understanding and navigating the uncertainties of the path forward are most top of mind.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I have always taken challenging assignments with the goal of wanting to positively transform the organization, improve financial and operating results, drive KPI's, improve gross margin and net income and EBITDA.
The success of those efforts can only be properly valued if there is careful management of the organization's stakeholders.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I use the weekend for prep work to get ready for my week. I rise early each day and do prep early in the day. Monday through Friday I prefer to work a longer day and leave unscheduled/unstructured time Fridays. I require little sleep, and try to schedule a full and productive day, but build in time for thinking periods, varied physical exercise (bicycling, walking, gym, stretching, e.g.) and try to eat smaller snack sized meals rather than large meals.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
1. Be humble, and never underestimate the contribution people at all levels can make to transforming the organization. 2. Work harder than everyone else and lead by example and 3. Be open to objective perspective.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Good to Great by Jim Collins. I think bad companies can be brought to ok, ok to good, and good to great. There is always opportunity for improvement.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Constantly invest in people, ferret out new perspectives, and encourage dynamic exchange of new ideas and identify opportunities for growth in the organization and individuals.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
As CEO, I was able to transform a $350MM global pharmaceutical company by shrinking it down from 9 to 4 sites, and improving EBITDA by $32MM. Often, leaner and smaller drives significantly larger profitability; frequently there are activities and operations that cannibalize margins and profitability. Understand the concept of how the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule, e.g.). can apply to "doworsification."