General Motors is expected to name a veteran Detroit turnaround expert to lead its overhaul in bankruptcy.
GM will name Al Koch as chief restructuring officer today, according to a source familiar with the effort. The title may be new, but he and AlixPartners LLP, an international corporate turnaround and financial advisory firm, have been involved with GM since January, according to the source.
He will oversee GMs bad assets that it plans to leave behind in bankruptcy, while a "good GM" emerges as a stronger automaker.
Koch, vice chairman and managing director of AlixPartners, thus will oversee the sale or liquidation of such GM assets as plants, Hummer and possibly Saturn.
Koch was involved in one of the nations biggest Chapter 11 bankruptcies, Kmart Corp., where he was interim CFO of the giant retailer in 2002 and 2003. Koch joined AlixPartners in 1995.
Koch has worked with Champion Enterprises Inc. and Handleman Co., among others.
In mid-2003, Koch was appointed interim CEO of Champion with the goal of returning the company to profitability.
Koch spent a year taking steps such as closing manufacturing plants and retail centers, exiting the consumer lending business, reducing its debt and negotiating new purchasing agreements and quality initiatives, leaving in mid-2004 as the company was poised to return to profitability.
Koch became chairman and CEO of Troy-based Handleman in November 2007, replacing Stephen Strome, who retired after 16 years as CEO and 30 years with the company.
The goal was to return Handleman, a distributor of music and video products to retailers, to profitability and the company embarked on aggressive cost-cutting and a search for new sources of revenue.
Ultimately, though, the company was doomed because its business model disappeared: Demand for music CDs dried up because of digital distribution and its major retail clients, notably Wal-Mart Inc., took distribution in-house.
The company had net losses of $53.4 million in 2007 and $96.8 million in 2008, both on revenue of less than $1 billion.
The company filed a plan to dissolve and liquidate assets with the Securities and Exchange Commission last August, and shareholders approved the plan last fall.
Koch also served for a time as CEO of tank-trailer manufacturer St. Cloud-based Polar Corp. following its acquisition by Questor Management Co. L.L.C. in late 2004.
Crain's Detroit Business contributed to this report