FTI CHRO Holly Paul in Board of Directors of AMCF

10 November 2014 Consultancy.uk

The Association of Management Consulting Firms has appointed Holly Paul, Chief Human Resources Officer of FTI Consulting, to its Board of Directors. 

The AMCF was founded in 1929 by five well-known founding fathers in the consulting industry: Edwin Booz (the founder of Booz Allen Hamilton and Strategy&*), Marvin Bower** (Managing Director of McKinsey & Company), H.B. Maynard (the founder of H.B. Maynard and Company; acquired by Accenture in 2007), Richard Paget (co-founder of Cresap, McCormick and Paget***) and Kurt Salmon (the founder of Kurt Salmon). Since its establishment, the Association of Management Consulting Firms (AMCF) represents excellence and integrity in the consulting profession. Key objectives include serving as the voice of the industry, representing the profession before government and regulatory bodies, managing professional standards and enabling firms to share knowledge and work smarter. The AMCF currently has more than 30 consulting members and roughly 20 associate members.

AMCF Founding Fathers

The management of the AMCF is run by a Board of Directors, which consists of 13 consultants that have a strong track record in the industry. Last week the representative body for management consultancy firms in the US and abroad announced a new addition to its Board: Holly Paul, CHRO of FTI Consulting. In her role, she is responsible for overseeing all areas of FTI’s human capital strategy, including talent acquisition, talent management, learning and development, workforce planning and compensation & benefits. “Holly Paul brings a wealth of industry experience and insights to the AMCF Board. She has shown a commitment to the consulting profession throughout her career that aligns with the AMCF’s core mission, values and high standards of practice. I am confident she will deliver new and innovative ideas to the AMCF,” says Donna Campbell, Chairman of the AMCF Board, who recently was named one of the 12 ‘Women Leaders in the Consulting Industry’.

Holly Paul - FTI Consulting

Other members of AMCF’s Board of Directors are:
- Chairwoman: Donna Dark Campbell, Americas Advisory Leader, EY
- Chairman Emeritus: Juan Pujadas, Vice Chairman, Global Advisory Services, PwC
- Vice Chairman, Europe: Pascal Gustin, President & General Director, Algoe
- Vice Chairman, Small Firms: Steve Goodrich, CEO, The Center for Organizational Excellence
- Vice Chairman, India & Asia: J. Rajagopal, Global Head of Consulting, Tata Consultancy Services
- Secretary: Madison Riley, Managing Partner - North America, Kurt Salmon
- Conrad J. Heilman, Jr. President & CEO, Tunnell Consulting
- Eric Speer, Global Leader of Risk Consulting & Software Business, Towers Watson
- Steve A. Templeton, Founder & President, Templeton & Company
- Sally Caputo, President & COO, AMCF
- Mark Goodburn, Global Head of Advisory, KPMG
- Rod Travers, Executive Vice President, The Nolan Company 

Members of AMCF

* In 2008, Booz Allen Hamilton was split into two firms: Booz Allen Hamilton and Booz & Company. Following the divestiture of Booz & Company to PwC, the firm was obliged to rebrand to Strategy&.

** Marvin Bower joined McKinsey & Company in 1933 and played an instrumental role in the growth and development of the global strategy consultancy. Bower is considered as one of the founding fathers of the management consulting profession. In testimony to his contribution, the Financial Times and McKinsey earlier this year launched a special prize named after himself and Brendan Bracken, who was chairman of the FT from 1945 to 1958. 

*** Cresap, McCormick and Paget was acquired in 1982 by Towers Perrin, which later became Towers Watson following the merger with Watson Wyatt in 2010.

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Accenture's push into the creative sector is an identity crisis

18 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

In its latest push into the creative sector, Accenture Interactive acquired New York and London-based ad agency Droga5 earlier this month, adding illustrious clients such as HBO, Amazon and The New York Times to its roster of clients. With the latest in a long line of similar purchases, Accenture Interactive further demonstrated its ambition of becoming the globe’s leading trusted advisor to chief marketing officers. Yet according to Ben Langdon, Chairman of Class35, Accenture’s strategy may be heading in the wrong direction.

A press release on Accenture’s website announcing the acquisition sits next to a quote stating that “brands aren’t built through advertising” – a huge contradiction from a consultancy firm hell-bent on becoming the ‘CMO agency of choice’. It’s not alone of course. The entire consulting industry wants a piece of the creative pie right now. In addition to Accenture Interactive, recent acquisitions by PwC Digital, IBM iX, and Deloitte Digital meant that in 2017, for the first time ever, four of the world’s ten largest creative agencies were consultancies.

So just what it is that Accenture wants to achieve from this? For one thing, it’s clearly trying to be a digital transformation business. A one-stop creative shop rivalling more traditional models, it wants to lure CMOs in with the promise of lower ad spend and a “more impactful customer experience”. At the same time, though, it’s still in thrall to those same slinky, shiny branding and advertising agencies it’s attempting to disrupt. The Droga5 acquisition and that of Karmarama a few years before are both testament to this.

There’s a fundamental problem with this, though. Digital transformation businesses don’t sell to CMOs. These people have enough on their plates trying to transform their own marketing skills in order to keep up with an ever-changing market – they just don’t have the time or the energy to concern themselves with digitally transforming a whole business. If Accenture’s purpose is digital transformation, then going after creative agencies is barking up the wrong tree.Is Accenture's push into the creative sector an identity crisis?

Worlds apart

Perhaps more importantly, these two industries are worlds apart in terms of the way they think. Creative agencies are all about ideas, campaigns and consumers. Digital businesses, on the other hand, are customer-driven – they think in terms such as lifetime value, measurement, and efficiency. Customer-led thinking is an entirely different beast to consumer-led thinking.

The reality is that the arrival of digital and an all-encompassing obsession with technology, measurement and social has led to the death of agencies in a reductive, zero-sum, efficiency-focused battle with brands. Indeed, agencies have become so obsessed with the latest tech fads, they’re beginning to forget how brands work. Worse still, they’re beginning to forget how brands are built. And, by forgetting, they’re destroying their own values.

Killing creativity

All things considered, it really feels to me as though Accenture is a chip leader in a game it doesn’t understand. Expensive acquisitions like these show that they’ve got the big money, but they don’t appear to have any idea what they’re doing with it. Take talent, for example. The best talent in the creative industry right now is out in the market; it’s not tied to any one agency. Both agencies might well be at the top of their game, but why would a consulting firm waste so much money on buying them when they could hire high-quality creative talent on a contingent basis instead?

As their presence in the top 10 creative agencies shows, there is a growing trend in which Accenture, like many of the other big players, are buying up agencies as if they were nothing more than keywords. What they’re really buying, though, is a collection of credentials, clients and IP. Unfortunately, the talent that created those credentials aren’t going to stay at the business, the clients that hired the agency in the first place won’t be interested in buying what is basically just another part of Accenture, and the IP never really existed to begin with.

Droga5, for example, was one of the few agencies that did great brand work the old-fashioned way – undoubtedly something that made it attractive to Accenture in the first place. The irony, though, is that by leading it further away from the way of working that made it so special, the consulting giant will kill its creativity.

“Accenture Interactive has been dazzled by its ambitions to become the CMO agency of record…. But, in flashing its cash, it is spending millions on acquiring nothing of any value.”

If pressed, the recently acquired agency staff at Accenture will tell you just how dysfunctional the new arrangement is. They’re largely unfulfilled. Rarely do they feel their work has any sort of meaning or purpose. What’s more, the different disciplines have found little or no common ground, and find it hard to work together as a cohesive whole. It’s not surprising, then, to see talented people leaving in droves.

Beyond the window dressing 

It’s clear, then, that consulting firms and creative agencies are no easy bedfellows. But in his company’s defence, Accenture Interactive’s Senior Managing Director for North America, Glen Hartman, described its culture as being “far, far away from what a stereotypical consulting firm would look like. Our office and studios look a lot like Droga5’s.”

In demonstrating a belief that office design equates to workplace culture, this statement serves as an illustration of how confused Accenture is right now. It wants to justify its new strategy so badly, it’s started dressing like a creative agency. But if you look beyond the window dressing and see that you and your partners are speaking a different language with a different purpose, selling to different people in a different market, there’s no getting away from the fact that you’re different.

Accenture Interactive has been dazzled by its ambitions to become the CMO agency of record, and it wants to dazzle others with its new direction. But, in flashing its cash, it is spending millions on acquiring nothing of any value.

Related: Space between consulting firms and creative agencies is converging.