PwC closes down 7 offices in Germany, leaves staff grumbling

05 May 2016

Seven of PwC’s offices closed down in Germany last year, as the firm sought to save itself €25 million per year in costs. The move, which required staff to relocate to other regional offices, created acrimony among staff, and since, the Big Four has seen a number of its senior leaders move out, taking their client portfolio with them. 

In October last year PwC in Germany announced it would close seven of its thirty locations in the country, savings its coffers €25 million per year. The affected locations are Dresden, Freiburg, Karlsruhe, Magdeburg, Mainz, Oldenburg and Siegen. The move has affected around 800 of the firm’s staff, none of whom were forced into redundancy. The professionals in the affected offices were ordered to move into close by offices, with relocation packages offered, where applicable, such as those needing to relocate from Karlsruhe to Stuttgart, an around two hour round trip.

The decision, and its subsequent implementation, resulted in a bitter falling out with a number of senior staff. Andreas Rupp, a Director at the firm and a sixteen year veteran, left the firm to join local rival Ebner Stolz. The defection saw not merely a loss of the clients serviced by Rupp, but also a number of team members that followed him out of the firm. PwC also lost a number of its legal division staff to its Big Four rival Deloitte, as well as to Bartsch & Partner. Losses were also recorded from the firm’s Tax and Assurance businesses.

In addition, other business advisory firms have been quick to move into the space left behind by the office closures. Ebner Stolz, founded in 2009, with revenues of around €160 million, recently strengthened its position in the country with the opening of three new offices – including one in Karlsruhe.

The loss in staff morale and, in some cases, the staff themselves, may have a detrimental effect on the firm as its competition with other Big Four players heats up. PwC’s revenues in Germany stand at €1.55 billion, putting it at number one among the Big Four, KPMG is close behind however with a fee income of €1.38 billion. EY and Deloitte are the fastest growers among the top four accounting and consulting giants – they last fiscal year saw their revenue increase by 8% to €1.37 billion and 9.5% to €729 million respectively.



Newcastle consulting firm opens Baghdad office

05 April 2019

A Newcastle-based consultancy has announced it will open its first office in Iraq. The news comes despite warnings that the area remains “high risk” for businesses.

16 years after the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the nation remains a shadow of its former self. The continued chaos wrought by the Iraq War – which eventually played a role in the rise to prominence of Daesh, further destabilising the region – means that even now, the nation’s capital is deemed to have the lowest quality of living in the world. According to a recent survey from Mercer, Baghdad ranked last overall – immediately below Bangui of the Central African Republic and Damascus in Syria – despite the other two being determined as the worst cities on the planet for personal safety.

However, as with the wider Middle East, the oil-rich state presents a lucrative destination to businesses willing to take the risk. To that end, a Newcastle recruitment consultancy has announced the opening of its first presence in Iraq’s capital city. Samuel Knight has taken the decision to open its Baghdad locale in order to grow its business in the Middle East.

Newcastle consulting firm opens Baghdad office

While businesses remain wary of the region, Samuel Knight specialises in recruiting talent in the energy and rail sectors, and in a release it said the new office would continue to focus on these areas. It will also allow the firm to make sure it abides by local compliance laws. The new location will be headed up by Haider Kadhim, Samuel Knight’s Iraq country manager, who will work as the first point of contact for clients and candidates. Representatives from the Department of Trade Industry are expected to attend a launch event for the office, which will be held this month.

Commenting on the new office,  a spokesperson for Samuel Knight said, “We probably don’t see it as a risk, but more of an opportunity, as we operate in the Middle East extensively already. We have contacts in place in the country location and with the consultants we have. We felt it was a great opportunity to expand into a country we are already doing work in. It means we have an on-the-ground team to help our clients. From our perspective, it is that we are looking to expand into new territories, but we are also supporting countries that are starting to redevelop after years of warfare.”

Steve Rawlingson, CEO at Samuel Knight, said, “Our aggressive five-year growth plan is manifesting at  an impressive rate, taking the company to exciting new territories. The team is working diligently to surpass expectations set out in the plan, and to ensure Samuel Knight is cemented as the leading global energy and rail recruitment specialist. Our Baghdad office will give us a distinctive edge over our competition and allow for more exciting business opportunities. Once the office becomes more established and client acquisition develops, we will certainly be adding more consultants and manpower in the city.”