McKinsey opens new office in Belgrade, Serbia, 9th in CEE region

14 November 2016

Global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company has opened a new office in Serbia. The new hub in Belgrade marks the firm's ninth location in the Central and Eastern Europe region.

The new office was formally opened this summer, when Dominic Barton, global Managing Partner of McKinsey & Company, flew over to Serbia to celebrate McKinsey's latest office, taking the total tally of its footprint to 110+ offices across the globe. In Central and Eastern Europe – a consulting market estimated to be worth more than €1.1 billion – the privately held US firm now has nine offices: Bratislava, Bucharest, Budapest, Kiev, Moscow, Prague, Warsaw and Zagreb, alongside Belgrade.

The arm is led by three experienced McKinsey consultants: Boris Dragovic and Dusan Komar, both born in Serbia, and the Croatian Jurica Novak. All three were educated partly overseas. Dragovic and Novak have PhDs from Cambridge University (in computer science and nanoscale physics, respectively). Dragovic has been with McKinsey & Company since 2011, joining after a spell working as an independent consultant (serving Bain & Company among others), while Novak joined the consultancy after graduating in 2006.

McKinsey opens new office in Belgrade

Dusan received his master's degree from the London School of Economics. He started his career with the National Bank of Serbia, after which he joined the consulting industry in April 2012, as an Associate with McKinsey, where he has been since.

With the new office, McKinsey aims to grow its mark in an economy which is seeing its fortunes take a turn for the better. The country is well positioned in the region, and is enjoying strong growth in several sectors, such as agriculture and food and IT services, which are predicted to see further growth over the coming decades. Serbia is in addition moving toward membership in the European Union, which is set to provide the country's business landscape with a new window of opportunities. 

Dragovic, Komar and Novak have over the past months already expanded the practice. A number of Serbian nationals have transferred to the new office, such as Luka Prelevic (from McKinsey's Bucharest office) and Ivan Radojicic (he has been with McKinsey since early 2015), and several new consultants have been recruited, including Marko Mijatovic (a former professional water polo player), and Isidora Mitic and Milica Socanac, both graduates from UK-based universities. 

Work for clients is well under way, with engagements spanning the financial services, oil & gas, telecommunications, and basic materials sectors. Dragovic, Komar and Novak highlight however that many of the firm's private-sector clients in Serbia are somewhat smaller than is typically the case in Western Europe. "This calls for flexibility on our part. Belgrade-based consultants work in teams on projects large and small, helping local companies navigate increased competition in their home markets while taking advantage of growth opportunities in international markets", comments Novak, who splits his time among Belgrade and the offices in neighbouring Bucharest and Zagreb.

Boris Dragovic, Dusan Komar, Ivan Radojicic, Luka Prelevic, Marko Mijatovic

Looking ahead, the office leaders state that besides attracting clients to its portfolio, hiring and developing Serbian talent is a big priority.

New McKinsey offices

Last year the global strategy and management consultancy opened a new office in Vancouver – a region where the Canadian origin Barton grew up – and earlier this year McKinsey extended its presence in Canada with the opening of an Experience Studio in Toronto. In 2014 the firm added its seventh office in Africa to its footprint, with a location in Nairobi, Kenya.

Last month a Senior Partner and 16 year veteran of McKinsey & Company, Andrei Caramitru, left McKinsey's base in Bucharest to join rival The Boston Consulting Group in Vienna.

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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.”