Hugo Azerad appointed a partner at Advancy, joins from A.T. Kearney

12 September 2018 5 min. read
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French management consulting firm Advancy has bolstered its partner team in Paris with the addition of Hugo Azerad, a nearly two decade veteran of rival consultancy A.T. Kearney. 

Hugo Azerad brings close to 20 years of experience in strategy and management consulting to his new employer, which was founded in 1999 by another former A.T. Kearney consultant, Eric de Bettignies, and today operates as an international player in the strategy & operations segment. Advancy has around 270 consultants, of which the majority are based in its Paris headquarters (~70 employees), with other offices located in London, New Delhi, Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Sydney.

The ESCP Europe graduate joined A.T. Kearney in 2000 just after the dot-com bubble, and during his tenure at the US-origin consultancy he ascended the ranks to Vice President (A.T. Kearney’s equivalent of partner level). Throughout his eighteen years with the firm, Azerad led and was involved in more than 150 engagements for clients across a wide range of industries, including private equity, travel & transportation, consumer goods, manufacturing, healthcare, media and telecom. 

Azerad’s experience spans projects from strategy to implementation, on topics such as strategic planning, business model design, asset valuation, due diligence and M&A, sales & marketing, reorganisation, and digitisation. He has also supported dozens of operational improvement endeavours, working with clients on pricing & margin optimisation, benchmarking, process design, lean management, SG&A costs reductions and sourcing optimisation. 

In his new role at Advancy, the newly promoted partner will focus mainly on projects in three sectors: tourism & leisure, one of the firm’s historical areas of expertise; transport, particularly on clients in aviation; and private equity, where Azerad boasts an extensive track record.Hugo Azerad, Partner, AdvancyThe appointment comes at a time when all three sectors are seeing rapid change, in some cases even market distorting disruption, hit their frontiers. On the back of solid fundamentals, Europe’s private equity sector has reached a high in deal value that hasn’t been seen since the outset of the 2008 financial crisis. With dry powder at a mind-blowing peak of $1.8 trillion, according to data from Bain & Company, and low interest rates driving up corporate M&A and venturing, private equity buyer appetite is driving transaction volumes. Advancy helps mid-market and large cap private equity funds with their investment cycles, providing offerings such as strategic/commercial due diligence, post-merger integration, portfolio work and vendor due diligence.

“Hugo is an expert in assisting private equity funds, in France and internationally, in both the acquisition and disposal phases as well as in the development of their portfolio companies,” said Advancy’s Managing Partner De Bettignies.

In tourism & leisure, incumbents are facing the likes of digital disruptors ( serving as a classical example in the hotel industry) and changing consumer behaviours, meaning customer journeys need redesigning in order to stay top of mind among consumers. Meanwhile, the transport industry is battling growing pressure for cost optimisation, as leaner and more tech-savvy agile business models surface, while facing the need to embrace new technologies such as robotics process automation and blockchain that are touted to be the silver bullet for future success.

The 43-year-old, who earlier in his career also briefly worked for BearingPoint (at the time Arthur Andersen Consulting – read ‘The history of BearingPoint’ for more information), joins a growing roster of Paris-based partners. Other leaders in Advancy’s French arm include De Bettignies, Stéphane Blanchard, Sébastien David, Patrick Pudduy, Laurence-Anne Parent, Sébastien Revel, Jérôme Salomon and Alexandre Szwarcberg.

Earlier this summer, the three MBB consultancies all added new partners in France: BCG appointed three Managing Directors, McKinsey relocated three partners to its Paris office from abroad, while Bain promoted Sabine Atieh into the role. Also A.T. Kearney, Oliver Wyman and Roland Berger, which is led by a Frenchman (Charles-Édouard Bouée, now in his second term), saw their partner ranks recently boosted. 

Related: French consultancy Advancy grows in France and eyes international expansion.