Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals

Meet some of our CIRPs > Kurt MacLeod

Kurt MacLeod

Kurt MacLeod, MBA, CIRP, LIT
Senior Manager, Financial Advisory Services
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Kurt MacLeod was briefly introduced to the insolvency profession during a work term while completing Dalhousie University’s Commerce co-op program.

At the time, he had spent several work terms in various areas of a Big Five bank, and was considering a future career in banking. He knew that to move up in the banking world, he’d need additional education. So after completing his B.Com. in Finance, Kurt also earned his MBA at Dalhousie.

After finishing his MBA in 2016, a mutual friend connected him with a trustee who was looking to fill a role at Deloitte. He joined Deloitte’s Corporate Restructuring practice, and within about a year, he decided Insolvency and Restructuring was the career for him.

“I didn’t set out to become a trustee, but I wanted to be part of the team helping companies in Atlantic Canada navigate difficult financial and strategic problems,” Kurt explains. “At a bank, you are less of a consultant, even if your clients are struggling with specific challenges. I saw the insolvency profession as an area where I could really help struggling companies in a tangible way.”

The obvious next step in a career in the insolvency field is to become a Chartered Insolvency and Restructuring Professional, so Kurt hit the books. He added CIRP to his designations in June 2020, and soon after became a Licensed Insolvency Trustee.

On their value, he says, “The CIRP designation is great, and you need the LIT to put what you’ve learned into practice. I remember being partially through the program when I started to notice what I had learned through the program beginning to come through in my work, and the value I was adding to the team increasing. I’ve also found with people working for me, even those who have only completed the introductory course are much more of an asset to the team and much easier to coach and mentor.”

Now a Senior Manager, Kurt enjoys taking a more leadership role on the Atlantic Canadian corporate restructuring team and continues to enjoy the variety of clients he works with each day.

“I have always been interested in how businesses work on a day-to-day basis, and I get to work with basically every industry in Atlantic Canada. And it’s a gratifying feeling when a successful restructuring allows an organization to avoid insolvency.”

In addition to the variety of clients he gets to work with, Kurt likes how small the insolvency community is, especially in Atlantic Canada. “I’ve always been passionate about building strong working relationships, and the legal/banking insolvency community in Atlantic Canada allows me to do this.”

What Kurt both appreciates and finds challenging about his role is that every day and every situation is different.

“There’s not a lot of repetition in your day, which is great,” he says. “But that also means you’re always starting from scratch, even though you can rely on legal precedence and past work you’ve done.”

There are also personal challenges to the job. “You’re continuously picking up new files, and each situation typically represents the worst six- to 12-month period of your client’s professional life. You need to compartmentalize the emotional stress and remember not to take it too personally when clients direct their emotions at you.”

He highly recommends the profession, advising being true to yourself as much as you can.

“There are lots of different approaches to our job, and you don’t need to change yourself to be in the profession,” he says. “It’s a lot about compromise and finding creative solutions, so develop your own approach and stay authentic.”