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  • Managing Through Fear

    Following the online launch, several of Tilton’s former employees and business associates reached out to me. They echoed one another, recalling a “maniacal” boss who managed through fear, detailing scenes of her screaming, spitting and raging on desktops. One claimed she’d propositioned male employees. Another recalled a meeting in which she boomed: “I’m the greatest f—ing businessperson in the world!” They all doubted her self-proclaimed prowess as a turnaround genius.

    Upstart: Women’s Business

    In the last two weeks, my colleagues and I have been rolling out a series of posts on Lynn Tilton, the founder and chief of private equity firm Patriarch Partners, which manages more than $7 billion in assets. We’ve examined her character and background, net worth, legal battles, and how her financing works. We’ve even heard from her. Now, an update on my reporting:

    Following the online launch, several of Tilton’s former employees and business associates reached out to me. They echoed one another, recalling a “maniacal” boss who managed through fear, detailing scenes of her screaming, spitting and raging on desktops. One claimed she’d propositioned male employees. Another recalled a meeting in which she boomed: “I’m the greatest f—ing businessperson in the world!” They all doubted her self-proclaimed prowess as a turnaround genius.

    The revolving door management hasn’t helped, they said. Three former higher-ups at Patriarch’s portfolio company MD Helicopters estimated that nearly 50 senior executives had been hired and fired, or left willingly, since Tilton bought the company in 2005. (MD employs 275 people, D&B estimates.) One said she berated management until they gave her the budget projections she wanted, which were unattainable. When the goals weren’t met, they were out. “It was the craziest place I’ve ever worked,” marveled a former MD exec. “You can’t turn around a company managing people like that. The biggest impediment to its success is her.”

    Tilton says MD is worth $1 billion. But the ex-exec says it was “cash-lean” and consistently unable to pay all of its suppliers. “They didn’t have any business,” he says. (Parts suppliers Kaman and Rolls-Royce declined to comment on payments.) Tilton told us that contracts with the U.S. Army and Boeing were “a testament to the new strength of MD.” As of mid-April Boeing still hadn’t placed an order.

    Read More:

    http://blogs.forbes.com/jennagoudreau/2011/04/18/lynn-tilton-managing-through-fear/

    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals

    Filed Under: Women's Business

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