Transformation - Merger Integration

Integration Managers: Special Leaders for Special Times

Harvard Business Review

Although the integration of an acquired company with the parent organization is a delicate and complicated process, traditionally no one has ever been responsible for that process–for charting how the two companies will combine their operations, for seeing to it that the integration project meets its deadlines and performance targets, and for educating the new people about the parent company and vice-versa. Some enlightened companies have recognized this gap and have appointed a guide–the integration manager–to shepherd everyone through the rocky territory that two organizations must cross before they can function effectively together. The authors have interviewed a number of these leaders in depth, as well as some of the people with whom they’ve worked. They’ve determined that integration managers help the merger process in four principal ways: they speed it up, create a structure for it, forge social connections between the two organizations, and help engineer short-term successes. In this article, the authors detail five acquisitions–at TI, General Cable, Meritor Automotive, Lucent, and Johnson & Johnson–and discuss the role that integration managers played in each.

This article explores the work of the Integration Manager. It draws on the diverse experiences of five integration managers, and distills them into four strategies for driving integration success.