Turning a business in need of vision and direction into a market leader

The Problem

Our client, Hitachi Capital UK (HCUK), was a leading financial services business providing vital asset finance and leasing services to growing UK businesses. However, the organisation’s purpose and direction had become unclear following the retirement of its CEO and company founder. The business was profitable but had little sense of shared destiny with its four divisions operating as separate entities. Performance management was limited to short-term cost control and tactical profit improvement. A risk-averse and cost-conscious culture added to the difficulties in growing the business or holding senior managers to account.

Our Solution

Our goal was clear - to help transform the business into a market leader. And that is exactly what we did, through:

  • Defining the organisation’s purpose, agreed by all divisions, which set the yardstick for measuring business performance.
  • Challenging the Board to set ambitious growth targets and strategies. We inspired HCUK’s Board to raise their ambitions for what could be achieved, using our knowledge of market benchmarks.
  • Enabling the business to achieve these targets by redesigning the organisation and developing capability. We covered almost every aspect of the business, ranging from ensuring the optimum delivery of group activities, designing new leadership roles, establishing clear corporate governance, embedding a risk function fit for a modern financial services business, through to developing corporate people management processes.
  • Supporting and coaching the Board to dramatically change the way they worked together. We acted as the conscience, the trusted advisor, the honest guy in the room who could say what the Board sometimes couldn’t. We always encouraged them to raise ambitions and handle any issues that threatened to slow progress.

Client's Benefits

The transformation of profitability achieved by this new sense of purpose was no accident. As a result of our work, HCUK’s profits have doubled to £50m within a year, with sights set on further growth in the near future. The business has become a significant contributor to Hitachi Group’s global business with a return on equity of 31% in 2012. It is now at the forefront of Financial Services globally and has been able to increase vital lending to growing UK firms.

Client Testimonial

“Challenge helped me transform the business from a collection of introspective, separate operations to a team focused on external markets, enjoying the success of doubling profits within a year to £50m”  HCUK’s Chief Operating Officer.