The partners of the BearingPoint have re-elected Peter Mockler as the firm’s Global Managing Partner. The German origin Mockler, who has been at the helm of BearingPoint since the buyout in 2009, leading the firm through an impressive growth trajectory, enters his third term in the role.
Back in 2009 the partners of BearingPoint stood for a key decision in the firm’s history, which dates back to the days of KPMG Consulting*. The North American unit was burdened a heavy debt load, forcing the firm to file for bankruptcy protection (‘Chapter 11 filing’) in February that year. The move reduced the consultancy’s total debt from about $1 billion to $300 million by replacing various lines of credit with new arrangements and issuing new stock to its debtors. Despite the efforts to find a buyer, hiring investment bank Greenhill & Co. as an adviser, and bringing AlixPartners on board to run a restructuring plan, in the course of the next months BearingPoint North America remained in financial difficulties. The operations outside the US however faced entirely different fortunes, with in particular the European practices performing strongly.
The stark contrast between the two regions, and to avoid the scenario of the US distress waving over to Europe – such as what for instance happened with Arthur D. Little in 2001** – BearingPoints’ 120 European partners decided to join forces and initiate a management buyout. Mockler, who at the time served as Chariman of the German country organisation, acted as one of the key architects of the deal. When the ‘new BearingPoint’ formally established, with Mockler appointed Managing Partner, the firm had approximately 3,200 employees and a revenue of €441 million.
Under his leadership, the international management and technology consultancy witnessed a strong run, in particular in the light of the ailing economic climate in Europe and beyond. Last year the advisory booked revenues of €558 million, realised by 3,500 professionals, and achieved its best ever earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT). From a footprint perspective BearingPoint also made large strides, bolstering its network to 30+ offices, and expanding its global reach through strategic alliances with West Monroe Partners (covers the North American market), ABeam Consulting (serves the Asia market), Grupo ASSA (focus on Latin American market), as well as smaller partnerships serving specific European market such as ARETE Consulting (Turkey) and Cumbria FS Consulting (Spain).
With the re-election of Mockler, who officially starts his third three-year term on September 1, BearingPoint says its opts for “consistency and reliability”. In a press release the business advisory states: “Our successful strategy is to be continued. This includes in particular the further development of in-demand service offerings as well as the further expansion of the company’s global reach”.
“We can continue our course from a position of strength. To do so, we will push our geographic expansion and invest in new solutions. Our aim is to be wherever our customers are and to offer exactly what they need,” says Mockler on his ambition, adding: “The sustainable and continuous management of our business is especially important to us. As a stable and reliable partner, we want to ensure the permanent success of our customers in today’s constantly changing world.”
* In 2002 KPMG Consulting changed its name to BearingPoint, after the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was passed in July 2002, in part to avoid even the whiff of conflict of interest with accounting giant KPMG. Rebranding of consulting units in the professional services arena was a trend at the time – Deloitte had considered calling its consulting unit, Braxton, and before the sale of their consulting unit to IBM, PwC considered Monday as a possible name for its consulting unit. In 2000 Arthur Andersen Consulting became Accenture, while Ernst & Young sold its consulting unit to Capgemini.
** In 2001 the U.S. operations of Arthur D. Little came into financial trouble. The firm came close to selling itself to Mercer, Monitor and PA Consulting Group, yet after those negotiations were blown off the management consultancy was roughly a year later picked up by French-origin engineering and consulting giant Altran. The distress however impacted the European operations, with dozens of high-profile partners deciding to leave the firm prior to its divestiture.