Markus Thiesmeyer joins Stefan Kirmße at the helm of zeb

18 July 2019 4 min. read
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German consulting firm has elevated Markus Thiesmeyer, a Berlin-based senior partner, to managing director. In the role, Thiesmeyer together with company veteran Stefan Kirmße leads the consultancy and its 900+ consultants and staff.

Founded in 1992, by Bernd Rolfes and Henner Schierenbeck, (zeb) is a strategic and organisational consultancy dedicated to Europe financial services industry, serving banks, insurance companies, wealth managers, financial intermediaries and FinTechs. 

Over the past years, zeb was led by Stefan Kirmße – who has been with the firm since 1996, the year when zeb first ventured into Austria and Switzerland. Against a backdrop of strong growth, and an ambition to further extend its tentacles across Europe’s financial services sector, the management consultancy has now decided to transition to a dual leadership. 

The decision, says Kirmße, was made “in response to the company’s strong growth and increasing internationalisation over the past few years.” With between 900 and 1,000 employees, zeb is today one of Germany’s 10 largest home grown consulting firms. Its employees are based across six offices in home market Germany (Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Münster), with international operations run from locales in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Kiev, London, Luxembourg, Milan, Moscow, New York City, Oslo, Stockholm, Vienna, Warsaw and Zurich. 

Markus Thiesmeyer joins Stefan Kirmbe at the helm of zeb

While a model of two CEOs at the top is not common among privately-held management consulting firms, with most firms having a single managing partner at the helm of a partner team, Kirmße states that it will better enable the firm to “drive the zeb’s strategic development forward both nationally and internationally.” zeb has as its mission to become one of Europe’s top financial services consultancies in the segments it operates in, including strategy, organisation, sales & marketing, operations, finance & regulatory, human capital and digital & technology – a feat which it has already achieved is some of its more mature markets such as Germany and Switzerland.

The shared-CEO model of zeb is however not unique. Earlier this month, another growing German-origin consulting firm, Simon-Kucher & Partners, also reinstated its faith in dual leadership. Between 2009 and 2016 the firm was led by the duo Georg Tacke and Klaus Hilleke, and following a three year spell with just one chief of command (Tacke), the firm has per the 1st of next year decided to hand over its leadership to the pair of Andreas von der Gathen and Mark Billige. 

Thiesmeyer joined zeb in 1995, after completed a banking apprenticeship at German’s largest bank, Deutsche Bank. Specialised in serving the retail banking industry, Thiesmeyer became a partner in 2002 at the age of 34, and in 2015 he joined the firm’s management team. 

Commenting on the appointment, co-founder Rolfes describes Thiesmeyer as the firm’s “ideal candidate for the co-directorship”, adding that he is delighted that the consultancy has been able to elevate a leader from within its own ranks.

According to a recent analysis by BDU, Germany’s management consulting industry is worth just over €34 billion.