Market Leaders Pick Their Market Leader: Who is the most sought after management consultant?

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Richard Hardwick

Operations Director

Hay Management Consultants

I THINK the most impressive management consultant around at the moment is Stephen Taylor who has worked at a variety of consultancies but who is now at Stanton Marris. He exudes the qualities one needs in a great consultant. He's very good at empathising with the client. As you can imagine, it is important to be able to see the picture from the client's point of view. He has great enthusiasm and the confidence which is necessary to inspire and carry the client through what may prove to be a difficult change journey. The client needs to feel that confidence at times of uncertainty. A good consultant will also challenge their clients as it's important to find out the real issues at stake. Stephen embodies all of these qualities. A successful management consultant will be one who doesn't necessarily follow the rulebook, it'll be someone with emotional intelligence, someone with an ability to empathise and who is full of confidence and who can apply these qualities according to client.

Will White

Deputy Director

Management Consultancies Association

THIS IS a peculiar business. It's not really an industry where people want to stand out. Having said that, I've got a range of people who have impressed me - Vernon Ellis, who is European head of Andersen Consulting, and his counterpart at PwC, Vic Luck. They run such major operations and they've had to deal with much amalgamation, to remain at the head is a remarkable achievement. Vicky Wright at Hay Management is impressive. She's an amazing motivator and I'd say she's probably the most important female management consultant in the world. She'd definitely appear in my top 10. Steve Beck from Gemini is an impressive player. He's charming and helpful and extremely useful to speak to. Andrew Miskin of CSC is an impressive thinker and co-ordinator, and finally my tip for one to watch is Mike Freedman of Kepner Tregoe, who works with an exceptional grasp of detail. Definitely one to watch.

Victor Luck

Managing Partner, Management Consultancy


OUTSIDE OF our organisation, the person I have always admired is an Italian named Giorgio Nerli who is the president of Galagano & Nerli. Indeed, I admire him so much that we acquired the company and have appointed him leader of our Italian concern. He has a unique combination of skills. He works in top boardrooms across Europe and works in a practical way to implement changes; he is able to work well at both board and management levels which is a desirable combination. To my mind a good management consultant is someone who can understand concepts. That's the sort of person who gives consultants a good name rather than theoreticians who most certainly don't.

James Hall

UK Managing Partner, Andersen Consulting

TO BE a success in this business, you really need an ability to develop and then hold to a strong vision. You need an ability to manage through detail, an ability to bring people with you during change and an ability to get things done. As far as I'm concerned, I don't see this industry as being one with lots of high-profile names, although I am sure there are lots of admirable things going on in other companies. But no names leap out and make me think, "Oh I wish I were working with them," or "I wish they were working with me". The people who stand out for me are the people who work here, the people who are driving the business forward and adding value to the clients. Those who win my admiration tend to be the younger faction too - the amazing thing is the value they deliver. If I had to pick out particular people, I'd choose Ian Watmore and Dil Thomas who have been managing a substantial project for the Contributions Agency which has received a fair amount of publicity. They have done outstanding work.

John Kerr

Deputy Managing Partner

Arthur Andersen

WELL AS far as I'm concerned, management consulting is all about organisations and brands rather than individuals. It's about finding the right people within each consultancy to meet the clients needs.

For that reason, I'm only going to suggest consultancies which I admire rather than the individuals within them. Market leading consultancies, therefore, would include McKinsey & Co which has focused strongly on positioning itself within the right industries and right people. Thanks to its management leadership, it has a very well thought out strategy which is consistent in its constant pursuit of clear strategies. I also admire Andersen Consulting for the way it has focused on competencies. It has developed them in depth and has focused on them to the exclusion of anything else. As I said, the consistency of the consultancy is more relevant than the outstanding nature of the individual hence my nomination of firms rather than people.

Crawford Gillies

Managing Partner

Bain & Co.

TWO PEOPLE spring to mind for me. There's CK Prahlahad who is an academic consultant. He believes passionately in the need for fundamental deep- rooted change to achieve results and that is really the point of consulting. Another admirable figure is Dennis Stevenson who used to work in a consultancy but who is now chairman of Pearson. I choose him because I believe he has managed to bridge the gulf between businessman and consultant. He provides an objective approach with business sensibility. It is important the management consultants are not in an ivory tower but actually think about the relevant issues like regular business people. Dennis does this. Other than these two, there is not really anyone who really stands out for me.

Bill Murray

Vice President, Management Consultancy

CSC UK division

I GAVE this some thought and the person who sprang to mind was Ron Mackintosh, the European group president of CSC. To a certain extent, he masterminded the explosive growth of CSC over the past six years during which time he built up the volume and the range of the consultancy. Under Ron's leadership we have developed our consultancy specialisations from pure strategy, through classic management consultancy, to business and IT consultancy. He has built up our range which now allows us to qualify as a full services consultancy according to Gartners. He is a visionary leader and a pragmatist. He can take a visionary idea and think it through commercially. And he's got a low ego (unusual for a chap in his position).

Simon Prior

Managing Director, UK

Gemini Consulting

I'M GOING to nominate James Kelly, an American management consultant who was one of the founder members of Gemini. He is still involved with us but also travels in a sort of freelance capacity around the world; he's a Gemini Fellow. I chose him because he founded the MAC group in 1964 which was the first faculty based consultancy, interesting because it linked academic study with practical consulting. He helped push a small strategy company through a complex merger process, blending strategy, operational delivery and people management to create Gemini. Really, he's a consultant's consultant. He was founder of a consultancy, he used his leadership skills to transform the consultancy and now is back in serious consultancy again. All in all, he is a thoroughly impressive player.