Thomas Kolaja
Managing Director
Quick facts
25+ years designing and leading wholistic corporate transformations across Europe for regional and global public and PE clients
Provided C-level interim executive leadership for numerous manufacturing, FMCG and service sector clients
Extensive experience in cost base resetting and operating model design and implementation
American with 30+ years of experience living in Western and Central Europe
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Mr. Thomas Kolaja, a Managing Director with Alvarez & Marsal, is co-head of the firm’s European Corporate Transformation practice and leads the German and European Growth Markets practices with offices in Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Warsaw and Prague. He brings more than 25 years of experience in restructuring, business strategy and operational improvement advisory services. Mr. Kolaja’s primary areas of concentration are developing and structuring operational and financial solutions to maximize value in corporate turnarounds.

Most recently Mr. Kolaja, on a project for a major U.S. client, is leading an 18-country EMEA-wide headcount reduction project removing and near- and far-shoring some 1,500 staff yielding projected cost savings of $130 million. At the same time the team has designed and is moving the client from a federated country model to a centralized hub model based out of the U.K.

Mr. Kolaja's notable interim-management roles included serving as COO of Tele-Fonika Kable, Europe's third largest cable manufacturer, COO of Mondi ‘s paper mill operations in Swiecie, Poland, VP of Operations of Carlsberg Okocim S.A. and CEO of Elektim-Online. In addition to performance improvement projects in various industries, he has worked with PE funds, multinationals, high net-worth individuals and banks across a range of industries, including FMCG and beverages, heavy and light manufacturing, aviation, paper, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, energy, and both wholesale and retail distribution.

Prior to joining A&M, Mr. Kolaja was instrumental in building and leading Kolaja & Partners, a premiere European boutique interim management and restructuring firm. Previously, he worked in London in Goldman Sachs’ investment banking division. Prior to that, Mr. Kolaja worked at McKinsey & Company in Dusseldorf, Chicago and Warsaw. In the early 1990s Mr. Kolaja was in charge of the privatization of Poland’s chemical industry at the Ministry of Privatization in Warsaw.

Mr. Kolaja serves on the board of the Ohio State University Alumni Association. He has previously served on the supervisory board of TRACE Inc. (Transparent Agents and Contracting Entities), an anti-corruption non-profit organization based in the U.S. serving blue-chip global corporations. Mr. Kolaja has also served on the board of the Poland-U.S. Fulbright Commission, the board of the American Chamber of Commerce in Warsaw, the Board of Trustees of the American School of Warsaw, and on the External Advisory Committee of the Ohio State University Honors & Scholars Program.

Mr. Kolaja earned bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and Russian from the Ohio State University and a master’s degree in business administration, with a focus on manufacturing from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a master’s degree in engineering from the McCormick School of Engineering, also at Northwestern University. Mr. Kolaja was a Fulbright fellow at the University of Warsaw.​