Meet Our Team Robert B. Gowens
Meet Our Team

Robert B. Gowens

Managing Director
Years with Phoenix: 10
Years of Turnaround Experience: 27

Bob Gowens is a Managing Director at Phoenix and has more than 43 years of senior leadership experience in a variety of business environments. He has been a senior operating executive for more than 20 years at both growth-oriented and challenged companies and has had full P&L responsibility as Chief Executive Officer, President, and Vice President/General Manager. He spent his initial professional years and the past 17 years as a consultant with multi-national consulting firms and with his own consulting practice – with 14 of those years focused on turnarounds. Bob is an effective leader, having worked with companies ranging from under $10 million in sales to more than $3 billion in sales in both the public and private sectors.

He has a financial education and background and is a CPA with prior licenses in Ohio and Colorado. Additionally, Bob has in-depth operational experience in manufacturing processes; product and process engineering and related database development; financial management; quality systems; sales and marketing; strategic planning; brand management and related market share management; distribution channel development; financial management and cost accounting; organizational structure development; information systems development; supply chain management; inventory management; and product development. Bob brings a high-value approach to each engagement, prioritizing business objectives and then integrating products and services, processes, internal and external activities, reporting systems, and metrics to meet defined success criteria.

PHOENIX MANAGEMENT SERVICES ® EXPERIENCE

  • Turnaround Management
  • Crisis Management
  • Interim Management
  • Operational Assessments
  • Financial Forecasting
  • Cash Management
  • Strategic Advisory
  • Due Diligence Reviews
  • Business Process Reengineering & Change Management
  • Business Plan Development
  • Manufacturing Planning & Control
  • Foundry Operations
  • High-Precision Product Development & Manufacturing
  • Product Line Profitability Management
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Manufacturing Cost & Control
  • Organizational Structure Development
  • Branding Strategy Development/Implementation
  • Distribution Strategy Development/Implementation
  • Distribution Operations
  • Sales & Marketing Strategy Development / Implementation

SELECTED ADVISORY ASSIGNMENTS

  • Led the turnaround of a large, publicly held tire manufacturer, focusing on inventory management, product line rationalization, manufacturing rationalization, European organizational restructuring, measuring, and reporting of critical success factors for manufacturing, inventory management and sales functions, and manufacturing systems planning and implementation. The change process resulted in more than $300 million of inventory reduction while increasing customer service from the low 80% levels to over 95%.
  • Led the strategic and operational restructuring for a $10 million capital equipment manufacturer with four different operations. Bob led the team that closed the largest of the businesses and consolidated the remaining businesses into a single location with significantly reduced operating costs. In slightly more than two years, the businesses rebounded, reaching high profitability and generating significant positive cash flow.
  • Served as President of a $600 million engine manufacturer, with 10 plants in the United States, Hong Kong, and China. Bob eliminated 47 engineering projects and initiatives that were diluting the efforts of management. He focused the talents of the “best of the best” existing employees with selected new hires to address (i) the reengineering of faulty products and the related direct injection engine technology; (ii) the manufacturing processes and much of the capital equipment in the machining and foundry plants; and (iii) the restructuring of the Sales and Marketing functions. The company enjoyed increased market share, and its redesigned engine has received accolades as one of the highest quality engines produced.
  • Served as CEO of Cigarette Boat Company, a boutique upscale high-performance boat manufacturer, subsequent to having performed the due diligence for a client that acquired the company. Bob replaced the management team, overhauled the product line-up, streamlined the entire manufacturing process, and created an international dealer organization. During his nine years at the company, sales increased over 500% and the export business increased from 7% to 57%. Four years after the turnaround began, the company was selected by Fortune magazine as one of the “Top 100 Products Made in America.” Bob was invited to accompany then Secretary of Commerce William Verity on a President Reagan initiated Presidential Trade Mission to Japan. This resulted in an expansion of the company’s exports and the establishment of a company dealership in Japan. As a result of the success of the company, Bob was selected by Boating magazine as “One of the Top 10 Personalities” in the boating industry.
  • Served as Vice President and General Manager of the Parts and Accessories Division of Mercury Marine, the largest marine engine manufacturer in the world. Bob began the reorganization of the entire division by hiring blue-chip professionals to lead engineering, sales and marketing, and distribution. He and his leadership team implemented many changes, including (i) developing a new branding strategy that encompassed all aspects of the brand to include name, logo and moniker, colors and packaging, retail point of sale displays, and sales and marketing advertising campaigns; (ii) expanding distribution to include regional wholesale distributors in order to improve customer service response time; (iii) developing and implementing a competitive strategy to reclaim market share of high margin products that had been lost to aftermarket competitors; (iv) engineering and developing innovative new products; and (v) partnering with new sources of supply to provide world-class products.
  • Served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the largest division of a $1.3 billion engine manufacturer. Bob’s initiatives included (i) introducing a new focus on customer service; (ii) greatly expanding application engineering support to OEM customers; (iii) implementing programs directly with the large distributor/dealers of the OEM customers; and (iv) working jointly with the product development team to introduce innovative new products for underserved markets. These initiatives resulted in large market share gains of over 20% in certain markets.
  • Served as CEO of an upscale boutique airplane manufacturer, leading the turnaround of its business and operations. The business had voids in its senior leadership, and the parent company feared they had exhausted their options. Bob assumed the leadership of the business and quickly assessed the market for the company’s aircraft, its distribution strategies and channel management weaknesses, the necessary internal operations and manufacturing process improvements, the competitive landscape, and the shortfall in the Company’s product offering. Additionally, the Company was facing an unprecedented downturn within the general aviation industry, exacerbated by a decline in the global economy and a loss of financing by its key dealers. A near-term strategic plan was developed to preserve the business and to better position the company for a strong rebound when market conditions improve. This plan included a hibernation period to minimize the cash burn, while maintaining key customer support and parts supply, and a product development plan and distribution strategy for the company as it emerges from its hibernation.
  • Led an engagement to consolidate two distribution centers (DC) into a single distribution center location. The Boston based distributor was incurring excessive costs by operating a Boston DC and two Reno DCs. An analysis was performed that demonstrated the Boston DC should be closed due to poorer efficiencies, a climate of declining labor relations, the investment in excessive inventories, and higher operating costs. Bob led the effort to identify the changes required to the Reno facilities including new racking systems, conveyor systems, expanded packing stations, additional material movement machinery and lift trucks and related electrical charging stations, I/T infrastructure expansion, and the modifications required to the shipping/receiving overhead doors. Bids were solicited for the engineering and implementation as well as the CapEx required for the modifications, and Bob negotiated the final agreements with the contracting vendors. Additionally, Bob led the effort to develop a manpower plan that restructured the timing of the various functions over two shifts in order to balance the receiving, stocking, customer order entry, picking, packing, and shipping processes. The consolidation was a success and the Company reduced its costs significantly.
  • Served as CEO of a large consumer electronics distributor. The business was intended to be a roll-up of three different family-owned businesses, but the consolidation had not been completed. The Company had significant market share and a strong second tier management team, but the top management had provided poor leadership and had not adequately addressed many of the key operating issues including continuing to operate as three different entities, resulting in a significant loss of profitability and missed EBITDA goals. Bob worked with the key management team to develop a near-term strategy, a restructuring plan, and a revised budget. Bob led the consolidation of the various businesses and eliminated redundant facilities and organizational functions, resulting in a reduced Company footprint by 40% with a corresponding reduction in headcount, a 42% reduction in inventory, all while increasing customer service levels. The Company has exceeded its budget and is generating positive and growing EBITDA.
  • Served as an expert witness for four large Japanese companies arguing against allegations of unfair competition from a U.S. corporation. Bob analyzed the details of the case and provided guidance to the defendants over the course of six months. His work included providing responses to the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission (ITC), culminating with his testimony before the ITC in Washington, D.C. Bob’s clients prevailed in their defense, and the industry was spared a potentially damaging ruling.
  • Led the strategic and business planning activities of a world-class industrial design and product development studio. Bob provided executive coaching to the CEO and Design Director and strategic input for the studio’s major client opportunities. He also directed the reorganization of the studio’s support and administrative functions; facilitated a strategic planning process; and implemented a project management system that focused on project quality and profitability.
  • Developed a negotiation strategy and led the negotiations for a publisher of children’s puzzles, games, and books with its third party fulfillment and distribution house. The company had been improperly charged for services rendered, but it had difficulty documenting and organizing the factual basis for its claims to establish credibility in the negotiations. The mediation strategy identified more than $1 million in legitimate claims.
  • Served as a key member of an international team for a large international CPA firm that developed a proprietary, integrated manufacturing software package for mid-sized manufacturers. Bob was responsible for the Inventory Management and Manufacturing Cost Accounting modules. He performed the integration with the Design Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering Database modules.

INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE

  • Aircraft Manufacturing
  • Aircraft Parts Manufacturing
  • Appliance Manufacturing
  • Automotive
  • Boat Manufacturing
  • Capital Equipment Manufacturing
  • Construction Management
  • Consumer Durable Products
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Engine Manufacturing
  • Engine Aftermarket Parts Distribution
  • Fiber Optic & Copper Cable Construction
  • Hot Foil Manufacturing
  • Oil & Gas Exploration/Extraction
  • Plumbing Manufacturing
  • Private Equity Fund
  • Recreational Marine Distribution
  • Professional Services
  • Capital Equipment Manufacturing
  • Tire Manufacturing
  • Truck Manufacturing

CAPITAL ADVISORY EXPERIENCE

  • Financial Advisory Services
  • Business Restructuring & Consolidation

PRIOR EXPERIENCE

Prior to joining Phoenix, Bob led a consulting firm for seven years, providing strategic planning, turnaround management, reengineering, due diligence support, and other consulting services to a variety of middle market clients. Before his latest role as consultant, he served as CEO, President, and Vice President/General Manager for three different consumer durables manufacturers, including two engine companies and a boat manufacturing company. Bob began his career in the consulting business, having been a Principal at A.T. Kearney and a Manager in Arthur Andersen’s Consulting Division.

EDUCATION / AFFILIATIONS

Bob earned a B.B.A. in Accounting from Kent State University. He is a Certified Public Accountant with prior licenses in Ohio and Colorado. He is active in a number of organizations, including the Turnaround Management Association (TMA) and the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG). Bob has been a keynote speaker twice to the International Boatbuilders’ Exposition, the annual international conference that showcases leading-edge technologies for the recreational marine industry.

robert b. gowens

Contact Information

Office Location: Atlanta
 

Office: (404) 814-5285

Fax: (770) 592-3642

Mobile: (404) 376-6252


Email:
rgowens@phoenixmanagement.com

vCard: Robert B. Gowens.vcf