Mr. Pickens is a Certified Learning Provider (CLP) at Appleton Greene with extensive experience in finance, management and operations. He received his Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in finance from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from The College of William & Mary.
Mr. Pickens is a seasoned business executive with over 35 years of experience as a Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer and board member. He has implemented, strengthened and lead the operating and financial functions for companies engaged in investment management, real estate, business services, consumer products, food production and hospitality in the United States, Mexico and Canada. He possesses a comprehensive knowledge across all corporate finance, budgeting, accounting, audit, tax and financial reporting functions. He also has extensive experience in structuring and closing equity, debt, merger, acquisition and lease transactions.
Mr. Pickens is extremely experienced at developing budgets, business plans and financial models; raising capital from both angels and institutions; recruiting and managing teams as large as 240; and implementing robust financial, operating & accounting systems. His experience managing the operations of an apple processing company producing frozen sliced apples for the baking industry with customers including Conagra, Mrs. Smiths, Nestles and Sara Lee formed the basis for the simulation aspect of the CEO in Training Program.
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Appleton Greene corporate training programs are all process-driven. They are used as vehicles to implement tangible business processes within clients’ organizations, together with training, support and facilitation during the use of these processes. Corporate training programs are therefore implemented over a sustainable period of time, that is to say, between 1 year (incorporating 12 monthly workshops), and 4 years (incorporating 48 monthly workshops). Your program information guide will specify how long each program takes to complete. Each monthly workshop takes 6 hours to implement and can be undertaken either on the client’s premises, an Appleton Greene serviced office, or online via the internet. This enables clients to implement each part of their business process, before moving onto the next stage of the program and enables employees to plan their study time around their current work commitments. The result is far greater program benefit, over a more sustainable period of time and a significantly improved return on investment.
Appleton Greene uses standard and bespoke corporate training programs as vessels to transfer business process improvement knowledge into the heart of our clients’ organizations. Each individual program focuses upon the implementation of a specific business process, which enables clients to easily quantify their return on investment. There are hundreds of established Appleton Greene corporate training products now available to clients within customer services, e-business, finance, globalization, human resources, information technology, legal, management, marketing and production. It does not matter whether a client’s employees are located within one office, or an unlimited number of international offices, we can still bring them together to learn and implement specific business processes collectively. Our approach to global localization enables us to provide clients with a truly international service with that all important personal touch. Appleton Greene corporate training programs can be provided virtually or locally and they are all unique in that they individually focus upon a specific business function. All (CLP) programs are implemented over a sustainable period of time, usually between 1-4 years, incorporating 12-48 monthly workshops and professional support is consistently provided during this time by qualified learning providers and where appropriate, by Accredited Consultants.
CEO In Training
Developing talented managers from within the ranks of an organization is critical to its future success and sustainability. Managers can emerge from any functional area and usually have exposure and expertise in the area they happen to originate from whether it be production, operations, administration, marketing or finance. They usually do not have exposure to all areas of the company. Effective and interesting training programs to round out their backgrounds are hard to find. Programs that expect you to fall backwards in the hopes your colleagues will catch you may be interesting team building experiences, but they don’t prepare candidates for the rigors of managing a division or leading an entire company.
The CEO in Training Program creates a gamified simulation offering participants the opportunity to manage and have responsibility for every aspect of a company operating in a highly competitive industry. In this case, that industry is the frozen sliced apple industry. The task is to lead one of six apple processing companies, located in varying apple producing regions across the country, through a single processing season, from the September harvest, through the production season, to the end of the contract period. This 12-month period is known as “The Pack.”
The frozen sliced apple industry is a mature, seasonal, high capital, low margin and highly competitive industry. Executives participating in the simulation must quickly learn the industry and its metrics, design a processing facility, fund it through a combination of debt and equity, bid against each other to purchase raw apples from regional markets around the country, determine their finished product cost, develop a staffing plan, set compensation levels, schedule production, manage inventory, and bid against other players for customer contracts. Apple growers, (the suppliers) sell their crops to the highest bidders and large food companies like Conagra, Mrs. Smiths, Nestles and Sara Lee, (the customers) fulfill their frozen sliced apple needs by executing purchase contracts with a select few low bidders. Not every processor will receive apples from each region, and nor will they receive a contract with every customer. This makes management information and the pricing decisions it supports, of critical importance. As the program progresses, random variables affecting regional crop size, apple yield and customer demand will force additional analysis and decision making to optimize company results. Once the raw apple and customer contracts are committed, each processor will negotiate with their competitors to utilize excess production capacity and sell off excess apples and/or excess customer contract obligations. At the end of the program, the processor with the highest calculated ROE will be deemed the winner.
As the program progresses, participants also receive practical instruction in a range of general business topics typically related to each phase of the simulation. Topics will include macroeconomics, capital budgeting and formation, costing methods, interest rate construction, risk analysis, sales forecasting techniques, the time value of money, net present value and IRR calculations, ratio analysis, the business cycle and a general overview of bankruptcy. Some topics may be review for certain participants, while for others this may be their first exposure to many of these topics since managers within organizations rise from varying areas of the company with diverse educational backgrounds and experience.
During each phase of the program, participants will also receive instruction and assignments related to developing a fully integrated financial model including a projected income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement and their related revenue, cost and balance sheet drivers. A review of basic accounting principles will also prepare each participant to create, read and understand financial statements and the stories they tell.
At the end of the program, each participant will have received a broad exposure to a wide range of business topics, become proficient in developing a fully integrated financial model, and have managed all aspects of a company through a complete 12 month season in the frozen sliced apple industry. Each CEO in Training participant will have full decision-making authority for their organization. Based on their ability to problem solve and think strategically, they will have a unique, realistic opportunity to step into the role of CEO with the potential for the success or failure that comes with it.
CEO In Training – Part 1- Year 1
- Part 1 Month 1 Introduction/Background
- Part 1 Month 2 Macroeconomics/Markets
- Part 1 Month 3 Capital Budgeting
- Part 1 Month 4 Staffing Plan
- Part 1 Month 5 Product Costing
- Part 1 Month 6 Capital Stack
- Part 1 Month 7 Risk Analysis
- Part 1 Month 8 Breakeven Analysis
- Part 1 Month 9 Sales Forecasting
- Part 1 Month 10 Financial Analysis
- Part 1 Month 11 Business Cycle
- Part 1 Month 12 Program Review
The following list represents the Key Program Objectives (KPO) for the Appleton Greene CEO In Training corporate training program.
CEO In Training- Part 1- Year 1
- Part 1 Month 1 Introduction/Background – The primary objectives of session 1 are 1) get the participants up to speed on the apple industry and 2) begin developing the skills and knowledge required to manage an apple processing company in this highly competitive industry. One measurement of a