Charles-Edouard Bouée and Stefan Schaible re-elected Roland Berger's leaders

26 June 2018 10 min. read
More news on

Following a spell of growth, Roland Berger’s Partners have renewed their faith in the consulting firm’s senior leadership with the re-election of Frenchman Charles-Edouard Bouée as CEO, and German Stefan Schaible as Deputy CEO.

With around 2,400 professionals in 34 countries, Roland Berger is the largest strategy consulting firm of European origin. It boasts a global reach and competes up in the top leagues against elite American rivals, including the MBB’s (McKinsey, BCG and Bain) and A.T. Kearney, Oliver Wyman and Strategy&. Together, Roland Berger and these six rival firms represent the world’s seven largest strategy consultancies.

The firm, privately-held by its Partners, today finds itself in good shape, and much of its recent resurgence is thanks to the man occupying the top spot. When Charles-Edouard Bouée took over at the helm four years ago, becoming the first non-German to lead Germany’s largest homegrown consultancy, Roland Berger was still in recovery mode. 

During the financial crisis there were serious rumours of a takeover and, according to insiders, on two occasions the firm was on the brink of losing its independence to a Big Four firm. In 2010 this was Deloitte Consulting, and in 2013, Deloitte Consulting, EY and PwC all came close. EY eventually turned its firepower towards The Parthenon Group (now EY-Parthenon), and PwC to Booz & Company (now Strategy&), after the proposed Roland Berger deal fell through. 

Charles-Edouard Bouée

Following his appointment as CEO in 2014, Charles-Edouard Bouée was tasked with steering the consultancy back to calm waters, and developing a bold new growth strategy. Though these were fundamental goals, arguably his most important challenge in the Partner-led firm was to align the vision of all the Partners to a goal that had the firm’s continued independence at heart. Several partners who didn’t share this long-term vision were dropped or bought out, and the rebuilding process began.Charles-Edouard Bouée and Stefan Schaible - Roland Berger

Less than a year into his new job, Bouée and the firm’s Global Executive Committee unveiled the firm’s strategy in the new era, which rested on three key pillars. At the centre was talent growth. The international management consultancy pledged to increase its headcount to levels comparable with rivals of a similar stature – A.T. Kearney, Oliver Wyman and Strategy&. 

The plan’s second stage was to transition the firm to a more modern consulting model, with ‘sub-brands’ and ‘hotspots’ to complement its consulting service portfolio and to tap into trends. The Terra Numerata ecosystem, for example, was launched to meet all clients' requirements in digital projects – the platform currently has over 100 partners.

The third pillar was the optimisation of the firm’s international network. Back in 2012, Roland Berger had offices in over 40 countries globally, yet with a headcount of around 2,400 professionals, its presence was thinly spread compared to that of its larger peers. In contrast, Bain & Company for example today has 55 offices in 36 countries, but 8,000 employees. 

To resolve this, Bouée boldly removed a number of countries that were generating little overall fee income and profitability from the firm’s global network, bringing the total down to the current footprint of 34 countries. With the advance of digital technologies, and rise of ramped-up infrastructure facilities in regional hubs, the firm has been able to maintain its global coverage.

In executing his agenda as CEO, Bouée has come through his first term strongly. Marcus Berret, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, welcomed the news that he had been re-elected for a second four-year term, saying “Charles-Edouard succeeded in setting Roland Berger on a highly sustainable growth track, with his visionary thinking and energy vital for this journey.”

Commenting on his re-election, Bouée said he is “greatly honoured” by the vote of confidence from the Partner team, adding that “in the last four years, together we set Roland Berger on a sound new foundation and a clear growth trajectory.”

Stefan Schaible

At Bouée’s side remains Stefan Schaible, who has been re-elected Deputy CEO. Schaible joined Roland Berger in 1997 and became a Partner in 2001. Prior to taking his current role, he was Head of the firm’s International Civil Economics, Energy & Infrastructure Competence Center. Congratulating his deputy, Bouée said, “Roland Berger has a global footprint, a European heritage and German roots. Stefan Schaible is the embodiment of the solidity and strength of those roots. I am very happy to have Stefan by my side once more on this exciting journey.”

“Roland Berger has a global footprint, a European heritage and German roots. Stefan Schaible is the embodiment of the solidity and strength of those roots. I am very happy to have Stefan by my side once more.” 

On his ambitions going forward, Bouée was bullish: “As a firm, we will continue to forge ahead while doing exactly what we advise our clients to do, which is to continue to build a responsive and flexible organisation capable of exploiting the potential and opportunities offered by digital technology. Digital, tech expertise and cutting-edge management approaches are embedded in our DNA.” 

In Germany, Roland Berger’s largest market, the firm aims to add 200 new consultants this year. Globally, the total recruitment drive stands at between 500 and 600 new consultants. 

Asked how he believes the firm stands out, Bouée remarked, “Our unique selling point is an unparalleled ability to give premium advice in all industry segments and functional areas, as well as to sustainably support our clients, thus transforming their businesses to cope with the multiple challenges of today's dynamic business environments.”

Charles-Edouard Bouée, a French national born on May 17, 1969, is not only the CEO of Roland Berger but also responsible for the firm's Asia business. He is a seasoned expert in reorganisation, post-merger projects and integration programmes, as well as performance improvement, and specialises in disruptive innovation, new technologies and digital transformation. 

Prior to joining Roland Berger, he was Vice President for an American strategy consultancy in Paris from 1997 to 2001. He began his career as an investment banker (M&A and corporate finance) at Société Générale in London. Besides a Master of Science from Ecole Centrale de Paris (ECP), Charles-Edouard Bouée holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Master's degree in Law from the University of Paris (Université Paris Sud XI).

He joined Roland Berger in 2001 as a Senior Partner in the Paris office, where he headed the Financial Services and Energy & Utility Competence Centers. He became President and Managing Partner of Roland Berger's China office in 2006 and head of the Asia Leadership Team in 2009. Bouée then assumed responsibility for France, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Morocco.Roland Berger’s headquarters in MunichToday he works out of Roland Berger's offices in Munich (the firm’s global headquarters) and Paris in Europe, and Shanghai in Asia. He sits on the Alumni Board of Harvard Business School and is a member of the International Advisory Board of China Europe International Business School (CEIBS). Further, Bouée is an investor – earlier this year he joined a funding round in Vietnam-based online retailer Leflair.

Roland Berger's CEO even holds a Chinese green card, only a few hundred of which are issued each year. In 2012 the City of Shanghai presented him with the Magnolia Gold Award, the highest accolade available to foreigners in Shanghai, in recognition of his services to the city's social and economic development and services to Chinese-European relations. Closer to home, on January 1, 2017, he was made Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Bouée has authored a number of groundbreaking books on modern management and China, such as ‘China's Management Revolution – Spirit, Land, Energy’. 

‘Light Footprint Management: Leadership in Times of Change’ is an informative guide for managers on how companies can successfully navigate the growing challenges of an ever more uncertain world, both economically and geopolitically. ‘La Chute de l'Empire humain’, a fiction story about artificial intelligence, was published in March 2017. Copies of his work have been translated into Chinese and Japanese.

CEO’s in strategy consulting

Such comprehensive knowledge of the management consulting game helps to place Bouée among an elite pool of consultancy CEOs. Soon to join that group is new McKinsey Global Managing Partner, Kevin Sneader, who replaces Dominic Barton next week. BCG has been led by Rich Lesser for five years, while Bain & Company appointed Manny Maceda as its worldwide Managing Director in March 2018. Alex Liu is another recent addition, replacing Johan Aurik as Managing Partner at A.T. Kearney in April 2018. Over at Oliver Wyman, Canadian Scott McDonald has been CEO since 2014, while German national Joachim Rotering runs Strategy& as Global Leader from the firm’s Dusseldorf office.

Related: Roland Berger hits major milestone: 50 years in business (on