Christian Gurny on BearingPoint’s remarkable Romanian growth story

23 September 2021 Consultancy.eu 7 min. read
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Next year, BearingPoint celebrates its 15th anniversary in Romania. Today, the firm employs more than 650 consultants, technologists and staff working from four offices across the country – making it one of BearingPoint’s most remarkable success stories since its independence. A discussion with Christian Gurny, Regional Leader of Romania and the Czech Republic, on the past, present and future. 

How did you start in the consulting business and how did you get to Romania?

I joined the company 25 years ago (back then KPMG Consulting) as a SAP consultant, working on large ERP implementation programs. In 2002, I became a partner. As a partner, I was responsible for almost everything: winning deals, managing large projects across the globe, and overseeing internal teams. 

At one point, we didn’t have enough people to help us get the work done. So, in 2005, we started thinking about opening a new entity to help us add more talents to our teams. I had a look at Eastern Europe, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, and other countries. In the end, we chose Romania.

Christian Gurny, Regional Leader of Romania and the Czech Republic, BearingPoint

Why did you choose Romania?

Romania was and still is the second biggest Eastern European country after Poland, and was on the verge of accessing the EU (at the beginning of 2007). I was convinced that the Latin heritage made it a good fit for the west. I didn’t know any Romanian people at that point, but I came here and took a “let’s do it” approach.

How did the business start?

We kicked off our Romanian business by providing SAP consulting services, and operated from a small villa in Militari, Bucharest. To realise our growth ambition, we put our first big advertisement in Ziarul Financiar: “BearingPoint is looking for 300 functional and technical consultants to hire this year.” 

Looking back, I guess we were a bit naive. At the end of that year, we had about 20 people, because it was not easy to find candidates who fit our levels of quality and expertise. So, we started slowly. Then, in September 2008, the global financial crisis hit, which impact us and slowed our growth. 

At that time, we had 40-45 people in our team, and we had just opened our second office in Sibiu. After the crisis we started growing and expanding, we opened an office in Timisoara, then one in Iasi and Prague. Our Bucharest team now has around 450 people working from the heart of the city (at Izvor 80). By the end of 2021, we expect to be more than 700 people in Romania and the Czech Republic. 

What kind of consulting services do you provide?

We started with consultancy services for implementing major ERP systems, and we’re still doing this. Our team contributes to delivering big global projects from different industries which run with major, state-of-the-art ERP and CRM solutions. We also advise our clients on how to automate their processes to gain efficiency. We’ve for example just won an internal prize for innovation in the firm thanks to one of our teams who developed a cutting-egde robotic process automation (RPA) tool. 

Over the years, we have educated and certified hundreds of people over the globe to implement applications or to develop state-of-the-art solutions. We are also supporting and advising around all state-of-the-art cloud products, and have an own solutions business.

What industries does BearingPoint’s Romanian team serve?

We serve numerous industries, specifically automotive, banking & capital markets, consumer goods & retail, chemicals, life sciences, communications, media and entertainment, government & public sector, industrial equipment & manufacturing, insurance, utilities, postal, and transportation. 

Our experts have deep industry knowledge in sectors and their processes, including what areas need improvement, which legal obligations are required in specific countries, and the challenges posed by the latest trends and developments.

What makes BearingPoint a leading player in the consulting industry?

We are an end-to-end management and technology consulting firm. We help our clients analyse, build a strategic path, and get it done. And in supporting delivery, our technology knowhow is huge. We work in partnership with all the major technology suppliers, developing solutions and strategies to meet the needs of our clients. 

What differentiates BearingPoint from its competition?

We are a real trusted advisor over the complete business and digital transformation journey of our clients from the beginning to the end, which makes us different from the competition. We are very hands-on, holistic, and entrepreneurial. We are an independent management and technology consulting company owned by partners. So, we work beyond borders, and we get the best people to the table and get things done.

How has your team evolved since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic?

Since the pandemic, more than 200 people have joined us. This confirms that the way we integrate people, the way we give people a voice, shape their workplace and allow them to decide how they want to contribute to projects is the right way. People stay because they are heard and valued and respected as a part of our culture.

Due to the pandemic, BearingPoint had to close its Romanian from March 2020 until July this year. How did this impact your work?

In March last year, we shifted to working from home. Our clients kept trusting us and saw that we continued to deliver despite the working from home situation. In the end, 2020 was our best year ever in terms of numbers – a performance that nobody really expected when the pandemic first hit Europe’s shores. 

Since July, people can come to the office, and we see them returning slowly – to share their knowledge, to welcome new joiners, to brainstorm and develop innovative solutions together. At the beginning of July, I visited all our offices within one week, welcoming everybody back. This was an amazing milestone, finally meeting a lot of my colleagues in person again. I missed it a lot!

How do you see BearingPoint Romania’s business evolving further?

Definitely growing! We have more than 50 roles open for our Romanian practice, and are seeking new talent across the entire country.

Technology is a major driver of our growth. We are continuously on the lookout for new technologies that can benefit our clients. And in the area of automation and artificial intelligence we have a demonstrated track record, meaning that we are a consultant of choice in this field for many clients. 

How does BearingPoint deliver on its corporate social responsibility agenda in Romania?

We want to support the communities around us, and many of our employees are keen on lending a helping hand. We just launched our #EnableHelpers2021 initiative to support NGOs with a series of pro bono webinars. Our consultants will speak about topics ranging from digitalisation to project management, organisational development, donor analysis, and so on. 

We offer our help to positively impact an NGO’s internal skills and competencies which, in turn, could make it easier for them to help others. Over the years, we have worked with many local non-profits around education, sustainability, civil engagement. It’s something that is institutionalised within our firm, as we care very much about society and the community. 

Finally, what achievement are you most proud of after almost 15 years of doing business in Romania?

If someone asked me today if I would do anything different from what I did when I started fourteen years ago, I’m so proud to say no. I never stopped believing in our people, and the people never disappointed me. They followed me over 14 years, and now I have a fantastic team of seniors on board, taking more and more responsibility who will be able to continue this journey.

Even more, 2020 has been a memorable year that brought new circumstances, decisions, challenges, and opportunities. In March 2020, no one knew how 2020 would develop, but in the face of a pandemic, our team has proven a remarkable resilience. How they managed to keep everyone safe and our business stable is truly the biggest achievement. This makes me very proud!