River Currents

Peter Thies

Peter Thies is President and a Partner of The River Group. He has 25 years experience helping global companies implement strategic organizational changes.
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Recent Posts

A “New Normal” for the C-Suite: Learning Agile Leaders

Posted by Peter Thies on Dec 6, 2016 11:38:08 AM

What are CEOs looking for in the next generation of C-Suite leaders?  

Let’s look at three real-world examples:

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Topics: Advising CEOs, Developing Leadership Teams

Grilled on the Hill: 3 Lessons from CEOs in the Hot Seat

Posted by Peter Thies on Sep 30, 2016 10:27:13 AM

The public grilling of CEOs on Capitol Hill that intensified last week came with the usual 24/7 media coverage. Media hosts and their guests evaluated the grilled CEOs on their performance in the hot seat. Opinionated pundits from all corners jumped on the bandwagon about heinous business practices and CEO greed. Consumer advocates, corporate governance experts, Washington insiders, business news stations and a growing cast of experts will no doubt continue to opine on what the CEOs did wrong.

I will not add to the grilling or apologize for the CEOs. Instead, I want to focus on what CEOs can learn from the high profile Capitol Hill Grillings of 2016: John Stumpf at Wells Fargo, Heather Bresch at Mylan, Michael Horn at Volkswagen of America, and Martin Shkreli at Turing Pharmaceuticals.

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Topics: Advising CEOs

Applying the KISS Principle to Executive Development

Posted by Peter Thies on Sep 13, 2016 4:10:37 PM

There’s an inherent paradox in the development of CEO succession candidates. On the one hand, the developmental degree of difficulty is high at the executive level. But at the same time, the capacity of top executives to invest in their professional development is inherently limited given the intense demands on their time. There are simply too many priorities, meetings, and initiatives to attend to.

So how do you help executives who can benefit from deep development insights, yet are trapped in the “ADD” world of today’s business climate?


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Topics: Advising CEOs, Growing Leaders

Achieving the Promise of Transformational M&A Integration

Posted by Peter Thies on Jul 19, 2016 10:46:47 AM

Merger and acquisition deals have slowed a bit lately, yet there are several impending deals in the news; Aetna's acquisition of Humana, Danone and WhiteWave Foods, and Medivation opening its books to potential buyers. 

The goal of any M&A activity is to achieve the strategic and financial promise with sustained results. Yet most mergers fail to achieve their targeted value. 

Here are some reminders about what makes for M&A success—and failure.


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Topics: Transforming Organizations

The Secret to Unlocking Organizational Agility

Posted by Peter Thies on Mar 1, 2016 11:52:08 AM

Does this scene from the Executive Team's Strategy Retreat sound familiar?

CEO: “We have a great company, but we need to adapt in order to drive growth. We are too slow to respond to the market.”

COO: “I agree. We need to be nimble, but we’re stuck in our silos. There’s too much turf warfare among product management, marketing and the sales force.”

EVP Marketing: “The real problem is that we have great products, but we struggle to innovate. Frankly we are too product-centric.”

EVP Sales: “We just lost another big deal to our arch rival. The other company developed a more tailored solution, co-created by their Solutions Team and the customer’s buying group.”

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Topics: Transforming Organizations

5 Questions Boards Should Ask About Tax Inversions

Posted by Peter Thies on Nov 2, 2015 9:18:24 AM

Is Your Tax Shelter Actually a Money Pit?

Beware the shiny tax-inversion toy. Merger integration is hard enough to pull off under normal circumstances. The additional dangers of tax inversions range from masking a weak business case in pursuit of tax breaks to incurring reputational risk to investor backlash. The tax advantages may also not be as substantial upon further consideration of international tax law.

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Topics: Transforming Organizations

CEO Succession: Value Destruction of the Unprepared

Posted by Peter Thies on Nov 2, 2015 8:31:27 AM

CEO turnover is on the rise and continues to be front page news. Turnover is at the highest level since the recession, according to executive search firm Spencer Stuart. CEO tenure has dropped to 4.8 years, according to a recent Harvard Business School study. Meanwhile, a post Baby Boom generation of market savvy, technology friendly executives in their early 40s are ready for more challenging roles.

Given the increased CEO turnover and bumper crop of successors, Boards can capitalize.

If they’re ready.

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Topics: Advising CEOs