Maarten de Jeu Recommends Innovative Thinking as a Core Need in Corporate Development

Extensive experience in commercial real estate investments, financial services and international business create a knowledge base that has driven the remarkably successful career of Maarten de Jeu. With a deep understanding of the financial industry, he broadens his comprehensive capabilities in an association with a global business network that reaches across Asia, Europe and North […]

Extensive experience in commercial real estate investments, financial services and international business create a knowledge base that has driven the remarkably successful career of Maarten de Jeu. With a deep understanding of the financial industry, he broadens his comprehensive capabilities in an association with a global business network that reaches across Asia, Europe and North America. His highly productive accomplishments in international financial circles reflect his appreciation of different cultures and his understanding of global institutions.

An innovative thinker and business adviser, Maarten de Jeu held critically important positions with leading corporations before he founded SVM Advisory. As Director of Strategy & Corporate Development at Aviva plc, he contributed his considerable skills to the company’s success. At TVDK Management Consultants, he served as the manager of international strategy where he advanced the interests of many leading business entities and worked closely with Heinz, ING, ABN AMRO and Sara Lee. As the co-founder of SpeakUp®, an organization that holds a leadership position in developing ethics and compliance solutions for Europe’s publicly listed companies, he made significant contributions to a field that he values highly.

Multilingual and an outstanding scholar, de Jeu ranked first in his MBA class at the University of Oxford and has continued his dedication to excellence in his career. At SVM Advisory, he puts his talents and skills to work in advising Fortune 100 senior executives and in providing guidance for Ultra High Net Worth individuals and technology startups as well as financial services and insurance companies. With the ability to synthesize the decision-making process while building effective teams that blend different disciplines and cultures, he provides highly valuable advice to companies around the world.

As a responsible citizen and a dedicated father, de Jeu enjoys relaxing with his family, playing tennis and working with community or business organizations in the Chicago area. He maintains a close working relationship with the Dean’s International Council at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy where his experience with worldwide organizations provides valuable input. His volunteer work at the Museum of Science & Industry, the Environmental Law & Policy Center, the Economic Club of Chicago and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs lets him contribute to causes that he considers valuable to his community and the world.

Understanding the Essential Role of Corporate Development (CD)

As SVM’s founder and managing director, Maarten de Jeu brings an insightful understanding of the function and importance of corporate development in thriving businesses as well as technology startups. The concept of innovative thinking may matter more in the current business market than in previous environments, and statistics from Deloitte confirm the reality of its significance. About two-thirds of corporate development professionals responded to a survey by indicating the demand for innovation as a core need.

To understand the value that corporate development brings to a company, anyone considering entering the field must develop an appreciation for its role in business, according to de Jeu. As a key factor in developing decisions that grow a business, restructure it when necessary and establish the levels of strategic partnerships that lead to organizational superiority, corporate development occupies a uniquely influential position. The ability to “craft mutually beneficial deals through mergers and acquisitions as well as divestitures,” de Jeu maintains, “contributes to the value of a corporate development team.”

Learning the Functions of CD

At the center of the corporate development function lies the two-pronged reason that businesses need it. Maarten de Jeu concurs with the theories that the Corporate Finance Institute proposes as paths that help companies achieve an advantage over competitors. One prong leads to the improvement of a company’s financial and operational performance, and the other focuses on finding ways to make a company perform better than its competitors. Business expert de Jeu contends that the “dual purposes place businesses that adopt corporate development” in a position that helps them succeed in “a highly competitive marketplace environment.”

Knowing What to Expect

The activities that fill the day of a corporate development team member provide a variety that pleases “anyone who does not want to do the same thing” over and over, according to Maarten de Jeu.

  • Sourcing

Finding someone who wants to make a deal with a company, a practice that professionals call “sourcing,” occupies more time at small companies and less in large corporations that attract interested bankers just by their size alone.

  • Analyzing

The analysis of a deal requires a team member to perform due diligence on every aspect of a merger and acquisition except the financial modeling and the valuation processes which come later. The status of target companies requires close examination and a review of the definitive agreement that de Jeu regards as the document that “specifies the terms of the deal that a buyer and seller agree on to finalize a deal.”

Some professionals refer to the definitive agreement as a “definitive merger agreement” or a “stock purchase agreement,” but they all mean the same thing. Joint venture deals involve approximately the same level of analysis as mergers and acquisitions, but they may require specific attention to agreements between a potential partner’s relationship with suppliers. It differs from a formal Letter of Intent which indicates only a preliminary position of a potential buyer.

Conducting a Financial Modeling and Valuation Procedure

Valid offers need a solid basis that supports them, and de Jeu recommends establishing projections for defining the creation of revenue sources, expenses and cash flow for mergers and acquisitions. As an extremely precise function that may resemble investment banking in some respects, the modeling and valuation procedure requires a high level of attention to detail. The complexity of financial modeling for joint venture deals may exceed that of mergers and acquisitions because of the need to address revenue and expense sharing, payment terms and commissions.

  • Integrating

Near the completion of a merger and acquisition, the integration of the systems of an acquired company into those of the acquiring company needs to occur. The process must reach across departments and divisions to assess and report on financial results and to ensure responsive communication between key people in both organizations. Professionals who work in corporate development must maintain a willingness to contribute where possible and to accept other decisions where necessary. Some companies assign specialized teams to conduct integration procedures.

Considering a Range of Strategies within Corporate Development

While mergers and acquisitions may occupy a significant portion of a corporate developer’s time, Maarten de Jeu points out that the need exists for other critically important areas of expertise as well.

  • Divesting and Carving Out

Divestitures and carve-outs provide an efficient mechanism for “offloading assets” in an orderly way that benefits a company. Pressures from inside and outside a business require a regular review of holdings in a portfolio with the expectation of achieving the highest possible return. They require intensive efforts in financial modeling, but the work may pay off handsomely.

  • Long-term Partnerships

Companies can gain a competitive advantage by establishing stable partnerships that enhance business opportunities for all parties. Benefits can occur when all partners achieve economies of scale and when they avoid price wars that damage everyone. Corporate developers who can think innovatively may find ways to form sustainable and rewarding partnerships that require much less capital investment than an acquisition.

  • Strategic Alliances

Especially appropriate for use in emerging markets, strategic alliances accomplish several business goals simultaneously. Maarten de Jeu recommends them for companies that need to manage risk, leverage assets and achieve entry into new markets as rapidly as possible. They allow a company that enters into emerging markets to benefit from established business relationships, an understanding of different cultural behaviors and knowledge of accepted practices that may otherwise remain unavailable. Strategic alliances may offer another benefit by dispersing the cost of investment and risk among the partners.

Achieving Success in Corporate Development

An opportunity to help companies grow may appeal to the entrepreneurial spirit in established corporations as well as technology startups. In a critical position that can direct the development of strategies, negotiate deals, provide expertise on relationship management and retain extensive knowledge of a product line, a CD team member can make valuable contributions to a company. Maarten de Jeu notes that corporations need to fill leadership roles in corporate development. He recommends that talented individuals who want to direct the growth and success of a company consider entering a field that provides challenges and financial rewards.

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