Decisions: Antonio Alvarez III - Alvarez & Marsal Europe - MD of the business turnaround specialists

MY BEST...

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

... was moving to Europe in 2001 after working in the New York practice for 10 years. My wife is French and she wanted to get back to Europe. Now, I work in London and live in Paris.

From a family standpoint, it was a great decision, but also from a career standpoint, as it allowed me a lot of personal freedom. I'd been very successful in the US and, over time, I'd have had the chance to grow, but Europe was a wide-open space for me.

I started the European practice - there wasn't a business out here in what we did, so I was setting up something that didn't exist. I had complete freedom, creativity and autonomy to revolutionise the way things were done here. I guess I was being very naive and ambitious.

I thought: 'Let's see if we can create a different approach in all of the markets in Europe.' And that is what we have done. The family is happy, the firm has grown, and I have personally grown. When I came, we were about 75 professionals worldwide. Today, we're 1,000.

MY WORST...

I didn't anticipate - given that it was a new market - how challenging it would be to start a business here. At the beginning, it was frustrating because things were slow and, previously, everything had come easy to me. I had a couple of very, very long nights pondering my decision to come here. It was a struggle for about nine months and I think because of that - and because by nature turnaround problem-solvers are conservative - I didn't capitalise on the growth and demand as fast as I could have.

We might have a greater number of people here today if we'd been faster in building the business infrastructure, but I wanted to make sure that the fundamentals were in place before we put in a lot of cost. But when things are growing fast, you miss opportunities.

We could have been a little bit more aggressive, as we were growing the practice, but that's not so much a decision at a point of time as a tendency. I probably err on the conservative side, but we try every day to get more courageous.

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