Kai Bender new Market Leader for Oliver Wyman Germany and Austria

28 June 2018 Consultancy.eu 4 min. read

Kai Bender is expected to become the new Market Leader for Oliver Wyman in Germany and Austria. The digital expert, who has been with the management consultancy since 2009, succeeds Finja Kütz, who is set to become one of Germany’s most powerful bankers as she moves on to a top management role in the industry.

The top role at Oliver Wyman will be vacated in October when incumbent chief executive Finja Carolin Kütz moves into a leadership position with Unicredit. Kütz, 45, will be Group Transformation Officer at the Italian bank and lead its ‘Transform 2019’ restructuring programme which spans issues such as maximising value, cutting costs and strengthening customer focus.

It is a major move for Kütz who has spent her entire career with Oliver Wyman after joining in 1997. She rose to become Market Leader for Germany and Austria in 2015 and also heads the Financial Services business. A mathematician by education, she specialises in advising banks on questions of strategy, governance and risk management. 

According to information received by Manager Magazin – a German management publication – Kai Bender, a Partner in the firm's German team and Head of Oliver Wyman's German IT practice, is the man who will take her job. The 46-year-old was selected by Oliver Wyman global CEO Scott McDonald, after the Canadian surveyed the opinion of the German partners. Kai Bender, Partner - Oliver WymanBender will begin leadership duties from 1 July, with Carolin Kütz there to support him through the transition. The Frankfurt native holds a doctorate in computer science and joined the firm as a Partner in 2009 from Roland Berger. At present he heads the German and Austrian digital and IT divisions. He helped to set up the Berlin office and most recently played a key role in several acquisitions, including that of the software specialist LShift, the digital agency Draw, and the design thinking company 8works. 


Under Kütz's leadership, the consultancy had set out bold ambitions. In an interview in Germany she once said that the firm wanted to close the gap with the top three players (McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group and Bain) and advance ahead of peers A.T. Kearney, Roland Berger and Strategy& in Germany. 

According to Consultancy.eu estimates, Oliver Wyman Germany generates a revenue of around €300 million and is led by 65 partners. Among the latest consultants to join the partnership are Armin Scharlach, who previously served among others Accenture, A.T. Kearney, IBM and PwC, and Jürgen von der Lehr, Simon Schnurrer and Jürgen Stetter, appointed in February this year.

Globally, Oliver Wyman earns fee incomes surpassing €1.8 billion, brought in by around 4,500 employees across offices in over 50 countries. The firm, founded in 1984, is the parent of NERA Economic Consulting (an economics consultancy) and Lippincott (a brand, image and identity consultancy), while itself being a subsidiary of professional services giant Marsh & McLennan.

Bender has been tasked with realising the firm's ambition, and not surprisingly, helping Oliver Wyman tap into the booming digital transformation market. Recent data from research house Source Global Research show that the digital transformation consulting market now is worth over $44 billion, up from $23 billion a year ago.

Another key area he will focus on is branding. While Oliver Wyman is one of the top players in the country, its awareness among clients lags behind its peers. This can be largely attributed to its relative newness to the scene. Oliver Wyman was formed in 2007 following the rebranding of Mercer Management Consulting, while McKinsey & Company has been active in Germany since the 1950s. According to a poll among managers, first-placed McKinsey enjoys a band awareness of 92% among (potential) clients, while Oliver Wyman scores 32%, well behind even Bain & Company which is ranked third on 46%.

Meanwhile, in France, Oliver Wyman was recently named the fourth most prestigious strategy consulting firms to work for, a position Bender will be hoping to achieve and consolidate in his new role overseeing Germany and Austria.