Mergers and acquisitions are common business practices intended to grow market share and improve shareholder earnings. When handled ineffectively, however, the process can result in more problems than benefits. A vice president of mergers and acquisitions plays a critical role in leading the M&A process, establishing sound strategies and maximizing the return on investment.
This VP leads a due-diligence process in advance of deals being signed to validate that there is a strategic fit between the companies involved. This planning stage includes risk assessments and business and technology evaluations. After decisions are made to proceed with the M&A activity, the VP leads the deal structure process addressing transformation, integration and post-merger operations. Key members of this leader's team include colleagues from information technology, human resources and finance, to enable smooth business transitions.
Diplomacy, persuasiveness and transformational leadership qualities enable a VP of M&A to deliver the ROI shareholders expect after the process is completed. This VP must also have exceptional presentation, communication and negotiation skills. Organizational and time-management skills are expected among any company's leadership team members, along with ethical and effective handling of sensitive, confidential and proprietary information.
The successful candidate for this position has led analysis planning and project planning specific to M&A events, including the allocation of resources responsible for business case and financial modeling development. This VP is well equipped to recognize and expose risks associated with each project activity, along with the potential impact each risk carries at a financial and business operations level.
Ideally, a VP of M&A should have a minimum of 10 years of leadership experience, combined with both a master's of business administration and a bachelor’s degree in business, accounting or finance. A strong financial background is a must, and preference might be given to candidates holding credentials as certified public accountants. Hiring companies might also look for project management training and experience.