Bailey is a board member of the
TMA Northern California Chapter
and past chairman of the Northern
California Commercial Finance
Association. He has spoken and
served on multiple panels for a
number of industry groups.
Q You’re originally from the East Coast. Were you excited about
moving to the West Coast?
Yes. My wife was
originally from California, so that
didn’t hurt. As for the timing, I was
with BankBoston, and we were
opening an asset-based lending office
on the West Coast, so it was a great
opportunity to come out west.
Q You stuck around, so I guess you liked San Francisco?
I moved west with three
young kids, all under the age of 4. Twins
make you get settled quickly. The twins
were almost 2 years old, and we also had
It was good timing, a good
opportunity. We started doing some
tech asset-based lending, along with
other emerging industries, so it was
a great opportunity to try something
different, and the bank encouraged
people to get out and try new things.
Q I saw you were doing workouts early on in your career. How did
I started in banking out
of undergraduate in the mid ‘80s,
went through a management training
program, and then what I consider to
be the big recession of late ’89, early
‘90s, hit. So naturally many got
thrown into workouts.
Q It was an all-hands-on- deck situation?
Yes. You’re in crisis
mode. I was at Bank of New England.
Bank of New England did go under,
and I transitioned over to
BankBoston, which was acquired by
Fleet, and then Fleet was acquired by
Bank of America. It was crisis time in
banking. That was a pretty rough
patch, so the natural place to go was
Q You eventually transitioned out of banking and into turnaround
management. I think you’re the first
TMA member I’ve encountered who
took that route. Is that unusual?
It is really unusual. In my
banking career, I didn’t focus just on
workouts. I did work on new business.
We opened the office for BankBoston
on the West Coast. I was involved in
new business, underwriting, and
portfolio management. At GE, I was
responsible for the Western Region
Restructuring Group and also
managed a pretty good-sized
portfolio. I resigned from GE Capital to
pursue a passion and go into
For a long, long time, I really felt like I
wanted to be more hands-on to help
companies, especially middle market
companies, through difficult processes.
Having been on the other side has been
a big plus in being able to do that.
The reason (TMA Northern California
Chapter President) Matthew English
and I are such good partners is I
had 20 years of dealing with credit
and capital issues. Matthew’s an
operations guy. The combination
of his incredible operational
background and my banking credit-type background is very powerful.
Q If you could start your career over again, would you do
Not really. I would
definitely spend more time with the
senior people of the banks and firms
and try to really learn from them.
There’s a tendency to stay within
yourself and maybe stop after your
formal training. Also, I did not join
TMA until I was in a more senior role.
Part of that was that we didn’t really
have a NextGen program or anything
comparable. I would encourage
people, as they are starting their
careers, to get involved in NextGen
and get out and meet people at their
own firms and others who are more
experienced. You can learn a lot
Q So formal training programs are one thing, but people’s war stories
are important, too?
Yes. Learn from that and
get involved as much as possible.
Q What have been some of your favorite, most gratifying, or
important engagements along the way?
Being CRO of a
multinational company where the
situation was fairly bleak, looking like it
was headed to disaster. We were able to
get in and make enough changes to
turn around the company and
ultimately recapitalize successfully.
Another situation that comes to mind is
one in which we were quickly thrown
into a situation where we became
federal receivers of the company. That
company, too, was in rapid decline,
and it was looking like hundreds of
people were going to lose their jobs
in a small town. We were able to work
with the senior lender to quickly
stabilize the company and sell it
within four months to a strategic buyer
who kept almost all the employees.
And the company is still thriving.
Q That four months did the trick?
During that four months
we were able to really stabilize the
company and restructure its
organization and how it did business. As
federal receiver, we had full fiduciary,
operational, and financial responsibility
for the company. In that case, we ran
everything. There was no board, CEO,
or CFO—we were it. We were basically
handed the keys.
Q At what point during that period id you think, “This is probably
going to work. We’re probably going to
be able to save this company”?
It was probably about
halfway through, but we were always on
edge. Maybe a month or so in, though,
we thought if we could just have a bit of
time, we could get things squared away.
That’s where we partnered with the
bank. We were able to convince the
bank to support us through this process.
It wasn’t like walk in and overnight—
bang, bang, bang—this is fixed. It is a
process and a partnership with the
bank, vendors, and employees.
Q Who inspires you professionally and/or personally?
I put my dad in that
category. My father immigrated to the
U.S. from Finland after World War II.
He didn’t speak English and didn’t
come here with much. He was able to