Kiumars Hamidian succeeds Peter Mockler as BearingPoint's new boss

07 June 2018 9 min. read
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After nine years at the helm of BearingPoint, Peter Mockler has announced plans to stand down as the firm’s Managing Partner. Mockler will pass the torch to Kiumars Hamidian in September, with the new Managing Partner of the international management and technology consultancy being handed the bold task of growing BearingPoint’s revenue to $1 billion by 2020 through international expansion and a diversified business model.

When Peter Mockler set foot in BearingPoint’s office in Germany on July 17, 2009, the firm was facing a new and uncharted chapter, having recently obtained its independence from its ailing global network. Mockler had just orchestrated the management buyout (MBO) of BearingPoint’s business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) into an independent partnership, breaking free from the North American entity which five months before had filed for Chapter 11. Instead of joining another brand, as BearingPoint counterparts had done in the US and Japan (PwC), or Brazil (CSC), the EMEA partner team was confident of the prospect of succeeding as an independent firm. 

The decision to pursue an independent future was a logical one, Mockler told, saying, “The EMEA region was performing well at the time, we had a strong foundation and were not facing the difficulties which the North American practice faced.” He added, “This tough time created a decisive moment for our European leaders – a moment which we seized. We wholeheartedly shared a commitment to the long-term success of our clients and our partnership.”

Nine years later, Mockler looks back fondly on what he describes as the most fulfilling period in his 25 years in the business. Mockler joined BearingPoint in 1997, at the time operating under the banner of KPMG. When the Big Four firm split its consulting arm into a standalone business in the same year, Mockler moved over to the new KPMG Consulting division. After a turbulent period for the firm, which struggled to find its feet without total independence, KPMG Consulting rebranded as BearingPoint (2001), following a $2 billion initial public offering. At the time, Mockler had become a Vice President at the firm, and in the intervening years between BearingPoint’s launch and the MBO, he ascended the ranks to Senior Vice President, head of the German business, and later Executive Vice President of BearingPoint EMEA. 

Peter Mockler led BearingPoint for 9 years

After successfully leading BearingPoint through the management buyout, Mockler was with a large vote named the firm’s Managing Partner by the circa 120 partners. When Mockler exits his role on September 1, 2018, he will have completed a trio of three-year terms in office. During his tenure at the top, he managed to ramp up BearingPoint’s headcount from 3,140 in 2009 to 4,340 today, and revenues from €441 million then to the current €712 million. Having decided not to stand for re-election, Mockler will stay with the firm.

A prepared transition

The change of leadership at the top has “been prepared for years,” according to Mockler, who described his successor as “a strong leader and an extraordinary person.” Kiumar Hamidian’s appointment does not come as a major surprise, as he was a strong candidate for the leadership role. Hamidian is a 22-year veteran at BearingPoint and currently occupies the position of Regional Leader for Germany, Czech Republic and Romania – which is the firm’s largest region and home to the firm’s largest office (Germany) in revenue, ahead of France and the UK.* 

Hamidian became a Partner in 2002, and was elected to the firm-wide Management Committee two years ago, becoming further responsible for BearingPoint's innovation processes and venture activities, an arm that has grown strongly in recent years and holds the key to the firm’s diversification-based growth strategy. Under his direction, the consultancy launched several innovation labs across its footprint, formed over fourty Accelerator propositions in co-creation with clients, and ramped up its investments in promising start-ups, among other areas. 

While BearingPoint does not share the details on the election process which will have ultimately delivered Hamidian to office in September, it is known that the process is substantially more ‘democratic’ than the likes of many of its peers – as at BearingPoint, every partner has one equal vote. To facilitate a smooth transition, in the coming months, Hamidian will shadow Mockler in his final CEO activities. 

Once in office, Hamidian will now lead a Management Committee consisting of twelve leaders**, including CFO Andreas Flach; Eric Falque, the Regional Leader for France, Benelux and Africa; James Rodger, the Regional Leader of the UK and Ireland; Iris Grewe, the Regional Leader for Switzerland, Italy and Austria; and Marcel Nickler, responsible for the firm’s US, Middle East, China and Singapore operations and globalisation strategy.

Remarking on the result, the outgoing Mockler said; “Congratulations to Kiumars! I am confident that the independence of the firm and the foundational principles that made us great will be maintained by the new management team: one firm – one partnership, one Partner – one vote, with the spirit of stewardship at the core of everything we do.”Quote Kiumars Hamidian

Hamidian himself meanwhile commented; “I am honoured to be entrusted to lead this independent firm and am fully committed to the long-term success of our clients and the partnership.”

Aiming for the €1 billion target

While BearingPoint finds itself in fine health, Hamidian however will have his work cut out for him. In 2016, Mockler unveiled a five year strategy for the firm to reach revenues of €1 billion by the end of 2020, one which will require BearingPoint to accelerate in the coming three years. Hamidian nevertheless said that he and the firm approach the future with confidence, stating; “We have extraordinary people and a very strong portfolio driven by the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. All of this will help me to guide the firm to the next level.”

To realise the goal, BearingPoint is on path to diversify its business from traditional management consulting to also include Solutions, which is booming, and Ventures, which brings in innovative mix of capabilities snd helps the consultancy to advance its skill-set. In 2017, the firm upped the headcount in its technology alliance partner network from 28 to 42, including industrial heavyweights such as a SAP and Salesforce, while apparently many more are still set to ally with BearingPoint’s Solutions arm. 

BearingPoint’s Ventures arm is also a major target for the firm’s long-term growth strategy. The unit is seen as a key enabler to drive the development of innovations and the creation and financing of cooperation with clients. The diversity of techniques has already paid dividends according to BearingPoint, with the firm citing it as a major driving force behind the firm’s double digit growth up to 2017. 

BearingPoint is most commonly making inroads into this work via consulting projects with start-ups, which first hire the firm to consult on strategy and business plan before entering into a consulting-for-equity model. An example the firm gives particular prominence to is Tribe, a Norwegian start-up in the insurance industry that BearingPoint invested in, having spotted the potential to disrupt the sector via the client’s innovative plan. With double digit growth continuing into 2018 (the firm’s revenues stood at €710 million at the end of 2017), it is initiatives like this that may well prove the difference in BearingPoint’s inbound CEO making the ambitious €1 billion target set by his predecessor. 

Related: BearingPoint's CEO Peter Mockler reflects on the firm’s bumper 2017 year.

* Overall, the Germany, Czech Republic and Romania practice is approximately as large as the France, Benelux and Africa unit. 

** Eric Falque, Regional Leader France, Benelux & Africa, Global Leader Digital & Strategy; Andreas Flach, Chief Financial Officer; Iris Grewe, Regional Leader Switzerland, Italy, Austria; Matthias Loebich, Global Leader Production Industries; Jürgen Lux, Global Leader Solutions; Marcel Nickler, Chief Global Network Officer; Patrick Palmgren, Chief Development Officer, Regional Leader for Nordics; James Rodger, Regional Leader UK & Ireland; Henri Tcheng, Global Leader Consumer Industries; Hughes Verdier, Chief Operating Officer, Global Leader Public Services; Robert Wagner, Global Leader Financial Services.