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NICK PIKE
Chief Executive Officer

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Nick Pike is a restructuring specialist with 30 years' experience in the sector. A qualified solicitor, he has worked as a partner in three of the UK’s most highly regarded firms, DLA Piper, Lawrence Graham (where he headed the Banking team) and Pinsent Masons (where he led the Restructuring team). Nick retired from legal practice in October 2020 and now undertakes advisory roles in businesses requiring his expertise. He is happy to act as a director where required and has experience in restructuring, management and governance. Sectoral interests and experience involve travel (particularly aviation), regulated consumer finance businesses, retail and leisure, healthcare, manufacturing, media and property- Nick is a director of three property management companies.  

His contribution to the profession has included a number of leadership roles. At present, he is a Council Member of the Association of Business Recovery Professionals (R3) and is the Chair of the Disciplinary Committee of the Insolvency Practitioners' Association. 

Nick also has considerable experience in challenging civil litigation, especially in relation to insolvency disputes. He has conducted very high value cases for a variety of stakeholders in relation to director conduct, recovery of assets worldwide , interpretation of financing documents and fraud. Nick can assist with the determination of litigation strategy and the management of complex contentious work.  

AT A GLANCE

2020-Present 

Chief Executive Officer, Pike Restructuring Limited

2012-2020 

Partner and Head of Restructuring Group,Pinsent Masons

1999-2012

Partner and Head of Banking Group, Lawrence Graham

1996-1999

Partner and Head of Restructuring Group (London), Dibb Lupton Alsop (now DLA Piper)

1992-1996

Partner, Litigation Department, Alsop Wilkinson (now DLA Piper)

1987-1992

Solicitor, Alsop Wilkinson (now DLA Piper)

1985-1987

Articled Clerk, Wilkinson Kimbers (now DLA Piper)

REDEFINING RESILIENCE

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NIKO PILIBOSYAN
Chief Operating Officer

Niko looks after the operational side of the work we carry out on behalf of clients, taking a lead on filing compliance, financial reporting and strategic management. His interests and experience are in the charitable sector and not-for-profit governance.  He is also willing to take directors' appointments in group situations where stakeholders wish to effect immediate change in subsidiaries, where (for example) articles of association require instant amendment. 

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After spending nearly ten years in individual and trust fundraising for major British universities and charities, liaising with boards and supporting two successful capital campaigns, he has a keen eye for detail and an approach for providing the highest level of professional advice to clients. His project and campaign management experience helps deliver consulting services with a focus on facilitating decision-making and stakeholder engagement at the highest level. ​

He holds a dual degree in Economics and Government and Legal Studies from Bowdoin College, Maine, USA. 

AT A GLANCE

2020-Present

Chief Operating Officer, Pike Restructuring Limited

2017-2018

Development Manager, University of East Anglia

2015-2017

Development Executive, Queen Mary University of London

2014-2015

Marketing Officer, Centrepoint

2012-2014

Operations Consultant, SIA Design Build

2010-2012

Higher Education and Fundraising Consultant (Various)

Pike Restructuring Limited was formed in October 2020, when Nick Pike retired from his role as partner at international law firm Pinsent Masons LLP. He recognised the frequent need for corporates to appoint restructuring professionals as directors when businesses need his expertise.

 

Whilst there are many offering that service on the market, relatively few combine Nick's experience and willingness to act in some circumstances where directors' and officers' insurance may not be available. Since its formation, Pike Restructuring has undertaken a variety of assignments across numerous sectors. Please see our case studies below for more details. 

OUR TEAM

Services

WHAT WE OFFER

Directorships

Nick has spent most of his career advising directors and boards as to their duties and obligations in a wide variety of situations and sectors.  When a corporate faces financial difficulty, the usual duties owed to shareholders are replaced with a requirement for directors to act in the best interests of the company’s creditors. That in turn can bring challenges, particularly where there is individual creditor pressure or competing creditors seeking to enforce their wills on that of the board. Directors can be liable to claims if they act in breach of their duties and responsibilities and can also face disqualification proceedings if their actions are felt to be particularly culpable. Where appropriate, Nick is therefore ideally placed to act as a director in these circumstances as his experience will be of huge assistance to a board facing these types of challenges.  He will ensure that the board’s advisers are asked the right questions, clarify points of concern and ensure all relevant issues are addressed.

Board Replacement

There may be circumstances where administrators, liquidators or other stakeholders wish to replace existing subsidiary directors in order to secure control of underlying businesses. This can result in board "cascades", where successive subsidiary directors are removed in turn.

 

We have considerable experience of this, including situations where articles of association require amendment in order to ensure stakeholder wishes are effected legitimately. Both Nick and Niko can take appointments in appropriate cases to achieve those results. 

Consumer Business Sector

Nick has represented stakeholders in a large number of consumer businesses. These types of corporates bring with them a host of unique issues with a high level of media interest; decisions directors make are frequently major news items.  He has particular experience in the retail, leisure and travel sectors and has also worked on a number of consumer finance assignments where onerous regulation adds further complication to the decision making process for boards. The need to treat customers fairly- and to be seen to be doing so- forms an integral part of the UK regulatory framework and Nick’s extensive experience in the sector ensures that he is fully cognisant of the requirements place on corporates.

 

Nick has frequently worked with companies who hold consumer deposits in advance of delivery of product and advised as to how these can be lawfully protected where necessary.  

Asset Recovery

As an experienced litigator, Nick has acted for many stakeholders where international litigation has been necessary to recover assets worldwide.

 

Where the business seeking their return is financially distressed, it is vital that only the most cost-effective measures are taken to secure repatriation to the potentially insolvent entity.  Nick is well placed to assist in both the management of asset recovery in these circumstances and in sourcing the funding to enable this to happen. 

Dispute Resolution

Financial distress frequently results in disputes; often, the dispute is a significant cause of the distress in itself.  Nick trained as a commercial litigator and throughout his career has achieved recognition as a leading UK and international lawyer for contentious insolvency work. 

 

Having now retired from practice, Nick is well placed to assess strategy for the conduct of disputes and assist boards in determining how they might be approached. He can manage the assigned law firm dealing with the matter and ensure that the prospects of success are optimised. Nick has considerable experience of mediation and other alternative dispute resolution and can also assist with strategy and tactics to bring matters to a conclusion as effectively as possible. Where international litigation is necessary, Nick has worked with non UK counsel on many occasions, ensuring that timely, accurate and cost-effective advice is obtained from those lawyers to enable the corporate to ensure that appropriate strategic decisions are made throughout  the course of the dispute.  

Governance and Strategic Planning

Nick has advised dozens of company boards, many of them household names, on strategic planning when facing financial difficulty. He has great experience of contingency planning and is well versed in developing and reviewing options and overseeing their implementation. Corporate governance issues frequently come to the fore where financial restructuring is required, particularly in group situations.

 

Nick’s extensive knowledge of both the legislation and the appropriate steps to take to ensure full compliance with it ensures that he is well placed to assist boards facing difficult and complex decisions at times of crisis. He is an ideal candidate for a director role in businesses which require restructuring. 

He can join an existing board, which may be inexperienced in the restructuring process, or replace entirely those appointed where stakeholders require a change in direction.

Case Studies
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CASE STUDIES
 

Current Assignments

Nick’s current assignments include an Asian food company, a sub prime lender and a biotech firm. He is also assisting in the realisation of assets of a sanctioned Russian entity now in administration and is liquidating a failed gym and leisure centre operator. 

The Wealth Manager

Special administrators were appointed to a UK based wealth manager earlier this year following the discovery of serious regulatory and operational issues. These included potential regulatory breaches relating to client money and custody assets, and criminal offences of fraud and money laundering.

 

The wealth manager is an FCA authorised and regulated wealth management firm which provided discretionary, advisory and execution only services to its retail clients and intermediaries. However, it did not have permission to hold client money or custody assets.

 

The FCA required the firm to cease operations on 4 April while it examined suspected regulatory breaches concerning client money and custody assets. At the same time, a worldwide freezing order was obtained against the principal, which, the FCA said was to "preserve assets which may potentially be available for distribution or confiscation upon the conclusion of any civil or criminal proceedings brought by the FCA."As of 6 April 2023, there was a potential shortfall of £81.4 million in client assets and money associated with the wealth manager.  

 

It transpired that a number of transactions had been effected through a subsidiary company over which the Special Administrators had not been appointed. That company potentially also held information which would assist the joint special administrators’ investigation.

 

Rather than incurring the cost and time involved in securing another appointment, the Joint Special Administrators instead used their shareholder powers to remove the incumbent director and replace them with Nick Pike as sole director of the company. Nick then executed a letter of authority to the joint special administrators authorising third parties to give them full co-operation and to comply with any requests for information the joint special administrators make about the business and affairs of the company.

 

This simple solution was achieved rapidly and cost effectively in a matter of hours. It demonstrates Pike Restructuring’s ability to assist in contentious situations where control of an entity not in a formal process is essential for the success of an investigation. 

The Shopping Centre

Nick was asked by a large UK property company to take an appointment as sole director of a major regional shopping centre. Significantly impacted by Covid, its lending required restructuring and the existing director, a surveyor, had limited experience of such a situation. A director with relevant experience was required; the centre was, however trading successfully with effective operational management. 

 

With the existing estate management team in place and the support of both joint venture owners, Nick assisted with a planned sale process. Ultimately, an offer satisfactory to the lenders was not received, and they chose to appoint fixed charge receivers. 

 

Appointment of fixed charge receivers does not, of course, suspend the director’s powers and responsibilities as would the appointment of administrators. Liquidation of the borrower company will also terminate the receiver’s agency, which can hinder operations. The receiver has asked Nick to remain in post, ensuring compliance with Companies Act requirements and dealing with issues which fall outside the scope of the security. This will ensure a smoother sale process. 

 

Fixed charge receivers may need to grapple with an appointment over the property of a borrower with uncooperative or absent directors. Pike Restructuring provides a director with decades of insolvency experience who will undertake all necessary tasks to ensure the borrower remains legally compliant, assisting in the sales process- in a cost-effective way. 

The Flat Developer
The Renewable Energy Business

Nick was contacted by solicitors acting for a lender to an SPV developer of a new build apartment block in London. The previous managing director had been bankrupted following the diversion of funds intended from the project; his replacement sole director was out of the country and not engaging with the construction programme, which was ongoing. The lender used its security package to effect the appointment of Nick Pike and a colleague and the removal of the existing director. Nick and his colleague them took control of the project, replacing the project manager, and undertook a thorough review of all aspects of the development. Construction has now been completed to frame stage and the outcome of a revised planning application is awaited, to enable completion of the apartment block which the local council has identified as being on a landmark site. 

 

Pike Restructuring is always happy to look at assignments where previous borrower behaviour required lenders to impose a new management team, protecting its security and enabling projects to be completed.

Nick was asked to act as a director for a solar farm business, which had borrowed substantial sums from a local council and a banking syndicate. An earlier restructuring had been unsuccessful and, indeed, there was considerable doubt as to the effectiveness of some of the legal steps taken in relation to that. Nick took up office as sole director for each of the holding company and over 50 subsidiaries and, with a new team of advisers, set about investigating the financial position of the group. Aside from (but with the agreement of) the financial creditors, all trade creditors were paid up to date and on time. 

 

There was some doubt over the value of the holding company’s business and, in order to determine the future strategy, Nick commissioned a valuation by industry experts. Following that, it was clear that there was a balance sheet deficit, although the solar farm business was of high quality. Following extensive stakeholder consultation, Nick sought the appointment of administrators at holding company level and remained in office at each subsidiary. He is now assisting the administrators in a sale of the business with a view to maximising value for the financial creditors.

The Cryptocurrency Miner

Bitcoin miner Lake Parime Ltd faced a cash shortage as a result of recent turbulence in the sector. The price of Bitcoin had tumbled by 60% in 2022, limiting the company’s ability to raise  finance. A sale was necessary, with a solvent solution unlikely. The sole director and shareholder was an interested party. 

Nick Pike was asked to take an appointment as an independent director to supervise the sales process and worked closely with Interpath to enable a prepack sale in administration to take place, in fact to a third party.  16 employees of the company transferred to the purchaser on completion. Ed Boyle and Will Wright of Interpath acted as administrators, with Alan Gar of Keystone Law acting for the company. 

Nick’s familiarity with both  the pre-pack process and the obligations placed on officers and stakeholders before undertaking any transaction enabled him to assist in securing a successful sale.  

We are always happy to consider similar appointments to ensure any potential conflicts of interest are addressed, enabling transactions to be delivered smoothly and in the best interests of relevant stakeholders. 

The SME Lender

An SME lender faced financial difficulties as a result of previous mismanagement. Nick was appointed by the parent company to a number of subsidiaries whilst negotiations for a restructuring and sale took place. Ultimately, it was not possible to achieve this without a formal insolvency at parent level. 

Notwithstanding this, in order to secure a better realisation for the major creditors, Nick remained in post for six subsidiaries to ensure that the collection of the subsidiaries’ debtor books was undertaken by solvent entities, protecting stakeholder value. 

Under agreements reached with the administrators and a service provider, the loan book collection will continue uninterrupted without the need to incur the additional cost of formal insolvency at subsidiary level. Nick will stay in office whilst the collection process continues. 

It can be difficult to find directors willing to take appointments at companies which are insolvent, even where creditors’ interests are best served by the company remaining out of insolvency process for a period. We are happy to take appointments in these circumstances subject to creditor consent and appropriate safeguards put in place. 

The Savile Row Tailor

Gieves and Hawkes is a world-famous tailor, based at No 1 Savile Row in London. The heritage of its constituent parts dates back to 1785 (Gieves) and 1771 (Hawkes) and  the business has developed into one of the best known tailoring brands worldwide, supplying the British Royal family and other Royal houses in Europe and around the world but also many famous stars of stage and screen, sports personalities and other famous public figures.

 

Trinity, a Chinese group, acquired the company in 2012 but encountered financial difficulties and went into liquidation in January 2022. Liquidators from FTI in Hong Kong then sought to realise the group’s assets, including Gieves and Hawkes.

 

To ensure stability of both governance and a structured realisation of assets, Pike Restructuring were asked to replace the existing boards of the business and then Nick Pike (as sole director of the UK businesses) embarked on a sales process lasting several months. This was concluded on 25 November 2022, when administrators were appointed. They immediately sold the business to the expansive Frasers Group, which has acquired a large number of well-known brands recently. Michael Murray, Chief Executive of Frasers Group, commented: "We are delighted to have acquired Gieves & Hawkes, securing a long-term future for an iconic 250-year-old brand. This acquisition further adds to our portfolio of strategic investments in luxury and premium brands.”

 

We are delighted to have played an important role in ensuring that the Gieves and Hawkes business can continue under new, secure ownership; the assignment further demonstrates our ability to assist in the successful realisation of high-profile assets in difficult circumstances. 

The Automotive Industry Supplier

An automotive industry supplier was facing imminent administration and a board meeting was summoned to pass the necessary resolution. The company’s restructuring solicitors then reviewed the company’s articles to discover that the attendance of an investor director was required to establish quoracy at the meeting. 

 

The problem was that no investor director had ever been appointed and the investor, a private equity house  was reluctant to appoint one of its employees to the board of an insolvent company. 

 

To solve the problem, the investor appointed Nick as its investor director on the day of the board meeting.  He reviewed the future administrator’s report and rapidly concluded that there was no alternative to formal insolvency; but in the course of the board meeting a major customer contacted the CEO indicating that it may be prepared to support the business as an alternative. A week’s discussions followed, during which Nick assisted the board’s deliberations and assessment of the customer offer. Ultimately, it was not possible to agree terms and administration followed. The board was, however, able to benefit from Nick’s experience in determining the proper course of action at a difficult and stressful time. 

The Housing Charity

Nick was recently appointed as a trustee of a charity which had to be placed into an insolvency process in order to facilitate its restructuring. Mismanagement by former trustees had resulted in insolvency and the board of new trustees were at risk of personal liability if a formal process was not instigated. All of the trustees were ‘lay’ with no experience of the insolvency process. 

 

There was one problem; the board was inquorate so could not pass the necessary resolution. Nick was pleased to help; he was appointed to the board, reviewed the financial position of the charity and joined a board meeting virtually to enable the resolution to be passed to place the charity into administration, all in the space of a working day. 

 

That wasn’t the end of the matter, though; it transpired that an inadvertent error had been made by the administrators’ solicitors on filing the appointment documentation, necessitating an application to court for a confirmatory order by the trustees. Nick took the lead on this, providing a witness statement enabling the order to be obtained. His previous experience allowed this application to be made rapidly without the need to place his fellow trustees under the pressure of the risk of having to give evidence in court. 

 

Now their appointment has been confirmed, the administrators are making plans for the charity to return to solvency and continue its vital work. 

 

The Musical Instruments Leasing Business

In March 2021, the administrators of a musical instrument leasing business appointed Nick to two of its subsidiaries. The company in administration had suffered a fraud as a result of the actions of a former director. Nick's role was to manage the business of the US subsidiary pending disposal; he was also appointed as sole director of a group company which owned a superyacht.  The US piano leasing business continued to trade whilst it was marketed and a successful sale was subsequently achieved. 

 

The yacht had been purchased with funds from the leasing business with the apparent intention of it operating a charter business in the Mediterranean but that had been abandoned when the pandemic hit. Previous management had then moved the yacht back to the US where it was originally purchased before refurbishment in Croatia

 

Immediately faced with an international arbitration arising out of the transportation by a sub-contractor prior to appointment, Nick negotiated a settlement of a four-party dispute. This enabled the yacht to be marketed for sale under Nick’s supervision whilst maintenance was carried out in Fort Lauderdale. A purchaser acquired the yacht in February 2022. Nick is now focused on winding the remainder of the business down. 

The Holiday Park

In February 2021, Nick was appointed to the boards of a number of companies within the Prime group of companies, which were closely linked to the failed London and Capital group of companies. His task was to assist the administrators of the holding company in securing the sale of the companies' principal asset, a holiday park in Cornwall. The legal title to the park was split between various of the subsidiary companies, with retail bondholders as major creditors. Working with the administrators, creditor representatives and other major stakeholders, title was perfected and the sale of the park to a major holiday park operator was achieved in April 2022.

The Shared Living Operator

In September 2021, Nick was appointed as director of a number of subsidiaries of a shared living operator. The business developed and operated a portfolio of co-living spaces and mixed-use facilities across Europe and the US including two co-living properties in the UK. The business was impacted significantly by the pandemic, which led to reduced occupancy levels and delays to development of new projects . Attempts were made to secure third party funding from investors which were unsuccessful, as was a sales process for the group. This led to administration in September 2021.

 

Nick was appointed by the administrators to secure control of certain subsidiaries, without placing them into insolvency process. This enabled sales to progress, which have continued throughout 2022.He is now working with the administrators to conclude a successful wind down of the group.

The Serviced Office Provider

In December 2020, Nick was appointed as a director of a number of companies within a serviced office provider group, which operated 36 centres in the City of London and West End. Its secured debt had recently been purchased by a competitor and, following default in loan covenants the secured lender appointed administrators at a holding company level. The appointments of all board members were terminated and Nick replaced those individuals. Trading continued throughout a major Covid-19 lockdown with no interruption to services. Nick retained the services of existing operating management and served as director of the relevant subsidiaries for three months whilst a sales process was undertaken; this resulted in a successful refinancing of the debt. On completion of that, Nick handed over control to the newly appointed successors, ensuring that a seamless transition was secured. The business continues to trade successfully.

The Insolvency Practitioners' Association

Nick has been a member of the Insolvency Practitioners' Association, one of the largest regulators of the UK insolvency profession, since very early in his career. Having served as an advisor to its disciplinary committee and a member of its appeals committee, in 2021 he was appointed as Chair of the Disciplinary Committee and is responsible for the conduct of its disciplinary tribunals in instances where regulated practitioners are found to have cases against them to answer. 

Approach

 
OUR APPROACH

TO
 
CREATIVE
 
PROBLEM 
 
SOLVING

What are the most important attributes of a non-executive director appointed to a financially distressed business?

Whilst executives and non-executives share the same responsibilities, they have very different level of knowledge of, and interaction with, the business.  That said, whilst typical non-executives may contribute for a day or two each month, they are likely to be much more involved as the corporate faces financial crisis. Without doubt, the non-executive appointed to that situation has to assimilate knowledge rapidly. A comprehensive understanding of the financial position of the company and the position of creditors and other stakeholders is key. Next, establishing the critical path timeline; what needs to be resolved by when, and how much flexibility in those dates might there be? In depth knowledge of directors’ duties and obligations is essential, as other members of the board may not be as cognisant with what is required. Indeed, a vital role is to provide assurance to those who have not previously dealt with restructuring. Finally, a good working relationship with the professionals engaged by the company –and directors, if they are separately advised- on the restructuring is a necessity. That is not to say that the non-executive will be afraid to test and challenge the advice given where needed.   

What are the key issues to identify at the start of any appointment?

Without doubt, it’s essential that you have an accurate assessment of the financial position of the company. At the same time, you need to ascertain what key dates lie ahead. When do facilities expire, or covenant tests fail (if they haven’t already)? Then there has to be a rapid assimilation of the factual position. What are the working capital requirements? What is the stakeholders’ attitudes? What creditor pressure is there? Are HMRC paid up to date? Can trading continue in the current environment? How stable is the workforce? Are there regulatory issues which need to be borne in mind?

How do you work with the appointed professionals?

A good working relationship with the lawyers and financial advisers appointed by the company- and the directors, if they are separately advised- is key. Having acted as an adviser myself for many years, it’s important that the professionals are seen as a team and operate as such. Whilst directors are entitled to rely on the advice given by their advisers, ultimately decisions are theirs and only the directors can make them.  It’s important, therefore that the right questions are asked of the professionals at the right time. They should expect to set out the directors’ options and the risks attaching to each clearly and unambiguously. Sometimes it’s right that advice is challenged robustly- but nothing is achieved by seeking to undermine it, or by trying to place the burden of decision making on  those whose role is simply to advise.  

Contact Us

CONTACT

Phone

+44 (0) 7973 176826

Address

20 Leicester House

Thomas Wyatt Close 

Norwich NR2 2TN

United Kingdom

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