Consulting firm Simon-Kucher looks back at stellar year

11 February 2019

Simon-Kucher & Partners, a consultancy with 38 offices globally, has continued its strong growth trajectory. The firm last year saw its revenue grow by a staggering 23% to €309 million. 

At the end of 2010, Georg Tacke, then and still the CEO of Simon-Kucher & Partners, was ecstatic after he announced that the firm had broken through the barrier of €100 million in fee income. Eight years down the line Tacke, could be no happier as he looks back at what is one of the consulting industry’s most successful growth stories. 

Simon-Kucher & Partners was founded in 1985 in Germany. After years of domestic growth, the firm opened its first office abroad in 1996, in the US. In the intervening years, growth has accelerated, with headcount currently at 1,300 consultants and staff. The privately-held company specialises in strategy and sales & marketing consultancy, segments which some of its partners describe as “the sunny side of consulting”. 

Last year, Simon-Kucher grew by 25% in its home market Germany, much higher than the average growth rate in the country, estimated at 8.4% by the BDU, the association of management consulting firms in Germany. “This confirms what we have always stated: the German market is not yet saturated. We still see many opportunities here,” said Tacke.

Revenue of Simon-Kucher & Partners (€ / million)

In neighbouring the Netherlands, Simon-Kucher booked 22% revenue growth. Onno Oldeman, managing partner of the firm’s office in Amsterdam and a global board member, said: “We are seeing growing demand for commercial initiatives aimed at sales and margin improvement – our focus and specialisation on these two topics means we are well positioned to capitalise on the opportunities.”

The UK organisation can look back at a “great year”, according to Mark Billige, head of the UK arm and also a global board member. “This was especially true in more data driven industries where we’ve been working to build client capabilities in dynamic and digital pricing,” he added.

Bumper performance was however noted in the US (35% growth) and China (>40%). “China is becoming increasingly important for the international consulting market. At the moment the share is still low – but if the positive trend seen in recent years continues, China will soon become a permanent fixture for the industry,” forecasted Tacke. As it stands, China’s management consulting industry is valued at $4.5 billion, comparable to Australia’s sector ($5 billion), but still a fraction of the US’s $60 billion industry.

From a service perspective, digitisation was again the firm’s star performing service line. Tacke. “Many companies have invested enormous amounts in digitalisation over the past few years. But they are seeing low impact. The solution is therefore smaller, clearly defined, and highly profitable digitalisation projects, rather than just digitalisation for digitalization’s sake. This is exactly where companies turn to us for our support and expertise.”

A report by Simon-Kucher released late 2017 found that the majority of digital transformations in fact fall short of achieving topline growth. In the firm’s vision, leaders should focus more on digitising where things really matter to the bottom-line – value creation and monetising commercial opportunities – instead of over-focusing on cost-cutting and streamlining operations.

Reflecting on the outlook for the current year, Tacke said “The forecast for 2019 is optimistic – we have set a revenue target of €350 million.” To this end, the management consulting firm expects to hire over 400 new consultants this year.

Related: Simon-Kucher charts course for a successful future (interview with a board member).

BearingPoint books 8th consecutive year of growth since buyout

11 March 2019

BearingPoint has booked its eighth consecutive year of growth since gaining independence, lifting its global revenues to a record €739 million.

“I am proud that we were able to continue our path of sustainable and profitable growth in 2018 and reached the highest revenue ever,” said Kiumars Hamidian, who took over the reins at the management and technology consultancy in September last year. 

Underpinning the firm’s 4% growth, BearingPoint made over 1,100 new hires in 2018, lifting its headcount to over 4,500 employees. The partnership was enlarged with the appointment of 21 new admissions, of which 14 were promoted internally, and 7 recruited externally. “This demonstrates our attractiveness as employer of choice for top talent and confirms our commitment to the model of an independent partnership fully focused on client service,” said the firm’s boss in a press statement.

Western Europe was BearingPoint’s powerhouse region for growth last year. The regions France and Benelux (Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg) and the United Kingdom & Ireland booked growth “far above the market average”, said Hamidian. While not disclosing exact numbers, according to the latest data available, UK’s consulting industry on average grew by just over 5% last year, France saw its advisory market accelerate to over 6% growth, while the Benelux recorded growth of around 4%. Revenues of BearingPointIn the latter region, the consultancy last year launched an office in Luxembourg, where it has been supporting clients since the turn of the century, and acquired Belgian firm Inpuls, a data specialist, doubling its size in the country. In the largest of the three markets, the Netherlands, BearingPoint grew its team to over 60 consultants. 

Founded in 2009 in its current form, BearingPoint’s roots go back over 100 years to the early days of two of the biggest names in professional services: Arthur Andersen, founded in 1913, and KPMG, founded in 1987. Following a 2001 spin-off of KPMG Consulting from its Big Four parent KPMG, the BearingPoint brand entered the stage, and after the firm buckled to financial difficulties in North America in 2009, the then successful European division decided to complete a management buyout. 

Under the leadership of Peter Mockler, who passed on the baton to Hamidian, the renewed BearingPoint has been a remarkable success story since, growing its revenues from €441 million back then to today’s €739 million. The firm now has offices in 19 European countries, with locales in Casablanca and Dubai used to serve the Africa and Middle East markets. Outside EMEA, BearingPoint has offices in Asia and the US, and to cover other regions, it works with strategic partners: West Monroe Partners in North America, Grupo ASSA in South America, and ABeam Consulting in Asia.

Organised across three divisions, consulting last year recorded 6% growth, while the software solutions business grew slightly slower than in previous years. The ventures arm continued its expansion, investing in Insignary, an Asian start-up that develops open source software security and compliance. Two years ago the venture capital unit took a stake in Norwegian insurance technology start-up Tribe.

Looking ahead, Hamidian said that the firm is well on track to deliver on its long-term strategy. “The execution of this strategy will allow for more success and further growth in the upcoming years,” he commented, highlighting markets, portfolio and people as the key pillars.

Related: Kiumars Hamidian unveils his first focus areas as BearingPoint's new CEO.