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Project Manager Mergers & Acquisitions

Strategic planning of development - securing success

Rhenus Logistics was founded in Frankfurt in 1912. Rhenus is now represented by over 610 locations in 40 countries and employs over 29,000 people. But how did Rhenus grow? We talked to Helene from Corporate Development (Mergers & Acquisitions) and asked her about her daily tasks.

What are your tasks as project manager for Mergers & Acquisitions?

In our department, we deal with mergers and acquisitions, for further develop of our company. We accompany the acquisition process from start to finish. From the moment we find an interesting offer, we establish first contact with the seller. The next step is to set up a project team consisting mainly of people from the operational area and the future management of the new company. These people have the correct knowledge to make the final decision as to whether the takeover will be profitable.
In addition to leading the team, as project manager I am also the interface between the salesperson and the project team. Whenever a question arises, I am always the first point of contact. I also take over the due diligence, i.e. the careful examination and the acquisition object on which the company valuation is based. Once both sides have decided on a takeover, the final contract negotiations begin. The concrete conditions are negotiated and agreements are made on the rights and obligations of the buyers and sellers. Once everyone agrees and the contract has been signed, one could assume that my work is done. However, this is not the case. The next step is the integration of the acquired company, which is an important component for a successful takeover. The challenge is to develop a strategy that is satisfactory for everyone.

How long does it take to integrate a company?

The time needed to integrate a company. Many factors play a role here, such as the size of the company and its structure. Companies can be structured very differently and sometimes it takes a while to find a common path where all employees are satisfied. Of course, this requires a lot of sensitivity. From two weeks to one year, I have experienced everything

What do you find particularly exciting about your Job?

The Rhenus Group is an international company. As a result, a large number of acquisitions take place abroad, giving my job a strong international orientation. This gives me the opportunity to experience and better understand new countries and cultures. Sometimes it is also a good idea to take a day off after an assignment abroad and explore the city and the surrounding area.
My job is also exciting because of the individuality of the unique projects. No project is the same, each time I am faced with new challenges, in which I can grow and learn again and again. In my central position, I also get to know the various business areas of the Rhenus Group and gain insights into the various facets of logistics, which also brings variety to my work. 

What opportunities does Rhenus offer you as an employee?

In 2011, I became aware of Rhenus as an employer through a job advertisement. At the time, I was on the verge of finishing my business law studies and worked in parallel in the controlling department of a cosmetics manufacturer. Until then, I had no contact with the logistics industry.

I remembered in a particularly positive way that I was involved right from the start and felt that I was a full member of the team. As the first woman in the department, I was quickly able to take on responsibility. After one year, I was given the opportunity to go on an important business trip on my own for the first time, and after five years, I managed my first project independently. Managing an entire takeover alone so early was a great experience, it provided me with a lot of learning potential in which I outgrew myself.

At Rhenus, I also have the opportunity to contribute my own ideas and try out new ways. I always receive support, which makes me more confident about the projects. This is particularly important for me, as I have a great deal of responsibility in my job and the takeovers involve large sums of money.

Why do you like working for the Rhenus Group?

Despite its size, I truly feel that I am working for a family-run medium-sized company. Due to the flat hierarchies, we have the possibility to make quick decisions and work out alternative solutions, which isn’t possible with other companies of this size.
Rhenus gives me responsibility, but at the same time, I receive the leeway to think and decide. This has shown me that Rhenus trusts me as an employee and gives me a positive feeling.

The way we deal with each other is also very personal. In our department, I notice time and time again that we do not work against each other, but hand in hand for a common goal. When I am faced with a challenge on a project, my team and my superior, but also the Executive Board, have an open ear for me in order to jointly develop a strategy for dealing with it. I also try to pass on this appreciation in my projects and take every problem that arises seriously. These are all reasons why I enjoy going to work every day. 

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