EY-Parthenon adds 120 strategy consultants in Germany with OC&C integration

14 February 2018 Consultancy.eu 6 min. read

Two months after OC&C Strategy Consultants confirmed the departure of its German office to EY, the Big Four firm has acknowledged the scoop in a press statement. The entire former team of OC&C Strategy Consultants Germany has joined EY-Parthenon to lead the firm’s strategy consultancy footprint in Europe’s second largest consulting industry.

Since its foundation in 2014, EY-Parthenon (which recently rebranded from its original name of Parthenon-EY) has been on a constant growth trajectory. While its growth has come from all regions – EY-Parthenon currently has offices in 22 countries – its path has varied across its footprint. The firm’s US and Asian outfits have been growing organically, primarily through expanding teams with new recruits and small team carve-outs.

When Big Four professional services firm EY acquired The Parthenon Group in July 2014, the strategic consulting firm had roughly 350 professionals. Following a number of bolt-ons, including several from rival strategy consulting firm OC&C, EY-Parthenon’s headcount is now estimated at over 1,400 consultants across the globe. The firm’s European arm has pursued an aggressive expansion strategy, establishing small EY-Parthenon teams at a local level, including in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the Nordics and Spain. Yet, against this backdrop, 'buy-and-build’ plans were crafted to significantly speed up the process, as Parthenon-EY has been buying its way into Europe’s strategy consulting scene.

The most recent deal is that of the German team of OC&C Strategy, EY-Parthenon's third scoop of a country office from the international strategy consultancy in the space of fifteen months following OC&C’s Benelux and French teams. The move propelled EY’s strategic advisory portfolio into the top ranks of Germany’s growing strategy consulting space, with around 120 employees in Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Munich, while OC&C immediately commenced efforts to rebuild with the launch of a new Munich office. 

EY-Parthenon adds 120 strategy consultants in Germany with OC&C integration

Now, two months after the acquisition was reported by Consultancy.uk and backed by OC&C, EY-Parthenon has issued an official statement confirming the deal. The comments reveal that the close cultural similarity of the two firms was a key element of EY-Parthenon’s purchase, while OC&C Germany were primarily motivated by the potential for growth that joining EY-Parthenon would provide.

Julie Linn Teigland, Managing Partner of EY for Germany, Switzerland and Austria (DACH) emphasised the matching ethos of the two firms, saying, "EY and OC&C Germany complement each other perfectly, because customers who are facing a comprehensive transformation, want a consultant who supports them holistically – from strategy development to implementation. By joining with the OC&C Germany team, we combine our outstanding industry expertise and process consulting expertise with the strategy consulting expertise of colleagues from OC&C.”

"So far, EY’s management consulting business has been providing companies with comprehensive advice on redesigning corporate, IT and financial structures, digitisation, as well as assisting M&A transactions and their integration. With the addition of the OC&C Germany team, we are supplementing this advisory portfolio with top tier strategy consulting," Hubert Barth, CEO of EY in Germany added.

A logical step

According to Georg Janßen, Managing Partner of formerly OC&C Germany, the deal presents the office with a major opportunity to build on recent expansion, saying, "After our record year in 2017, joining the international strategy consultancy EY-Parthenon is the next logical development step. By joining forces, we gain access to an even more international network with additional expertise and reinforce our expertise in analytics and digitisation. With the proven strategic competence of the teams of OC&C Germany and EY-Parthenon and the broad competencies of EY, for example in Big Data, we will offer a unique range of services in the market.”

Another motive for the deal is likely to have been OC&C Germany’s desire to retain a greater level of autonomy. OC&C's “One Firm” strategy and three-year organisational change programme had reportedly hampered some Partners across OC&C’s locales. In a move to augment the firm's brand and governance, the consultancy is transitioning from its historic federalised model of franchises, into a centralised international partnership model, in line with rivals such as McKinsey, BCG, Bain and Roland Berger.

Despite this, James George, OC&C International Managing Partner, remains convinced that the change is the right approach to take. In a statement following the loss of OC&C’s German outfit, he said, “Three years ago we realised that in order to do our best work for clients, we needed to evolve our firm’s structure, substituting a federation of offices for a more closely integrated partnership.”

In Germany, EY books revenues of €1.6 billion, up from €1.3 billion four years ago, with Advisory its fastest growing service line.

Related news on EY-Parthenon and OC&C deals:
- EY-
Parthenon expands in Nordics with acquisition of BOX Associates
French arm of strategy consultancy OC&C joins EY-Parthenon