Management consultancy MSB celebrates 30th anniversary in style

06 July 2017 5 min. read
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Established in 1987, MSB Consultancy recently celebrated its landmark 30th anniversary by hosting an event attended by the UK Prime Minister Theresa May. Over the course of three decades, what began as a two-man operation above a bookmaker’s shop in Woking has grown into an international management consultancy that operates in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and North America.

In April 1987 Don Porter and Brian Hamill, both responsible for transforming the culture of British Airways in the 1980s, founded MSB Consultancy with ambitions to become a leading global provider of tailored management consulting services. They remain the Joint Managing Directors today. Originally a two-man operation based above a bookmakers in Woking, the firm which specialises in culture change, customer experience, employee engagement and people development, quickly outgrew its humble beginnings.

By 1994, MSB Consultancy had moved to larger premises near Ascot. Winslow House, which remains the company’s headquarters, was opened by former Thatcher-era Cabinet Minister Cecil Parkinson. However, despite early success, the company has never been able to rest on its laurels. Having survived three decades of global change, it has had to adapt continuously to changing markets, social attitudes and dynamics in the consulting industry.

Don Porter in discussion with Prime Minister Theresa May

Commenting on how the company has remained at the forefront of the industry over a tumultuous 30 years – withstanding the ERM crisis, the Dotcom crash, 9/11, and a global financial crisis – Joint Managing Director Brian Hamill said three components were key.

“First, we have a consistent vision about what we want to be and what our service should offer. Our focus continues to be on Culture Change, Customer Experience, Leadership and People development. Second, we have managed to attract enthusiastic and talented consultants and trainers. Finally, a positive attitude and sheer determination to succeed whatever the adversity is essential. One significant difference between big corporates and owner managed business is that, in the latter, the company culture takes on the values and beliefs of the owners – that is why our directors ensure that MSB’s direction and decisions are guided by trust, fairness, and loyalty.”

Home and away

For the last 10 years, in addition to its UK and US client portfolio, MSB has partnered with organisations in the Gulf. The company has developed a close association with the court of Bahrain’s Crown Prince through its work with the country’s government on projects ranging from performance audits and leadership development programmes to employee engagement research and culture change strategies. MSB is currently helping Tamkeen, a high-profile Bahraini government agency, to achieve a high-performance culture.

However, MSB also continues to excel on home soil. In September 2015, the company won the CIPD People Management Award as the ‘Best HR / L&D supplier’ for its employee engagement research and customer service training with the London Eye. The work aided the world-renowned visitor attraction to achieve higher satisfaction ratings from passengers on the former ‘Millennium Wheel’, along with fewer customer complaints and enhanced levels of employee engagement.

Brian Hamill in conversation with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Last week, MSB celebrated its 30th anniversary at the Houses of Parliament, at a reception attended by 170 clients and friends from around the world. Along with familiar faces from the firm’s past, guests also found themselves rubbing shoulders with the Westminster elite, as Prime Minister Theresa May and several Cabinet Ministers took time out from a hectic Parliamentary schedule to enjoy the reception. Those in attendance included former MSB intern and current Conservative MP Ranil Jayawardena, along with International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt – whose NHS responsibilities are of particular interest to MSB as the firm looks to grow into the increasingly marketised public healthcare sector.

Outlining plans for where the firm will head next after their initial 30 years of business, Joint Managing Director Don Porter stated, “We aim to increase our work in the public healthcare sector while maintaining our strong links in the private sector and continuing to develop close ties in the Gulf. We’re determined to be the best in everything we do and to develop appropriate partnerships, such as the one we enjoy with Lancaster University Management School, for the benefit of our clients. Most importantly, we will continue to grow our team of consultants and trainers, adding new members who can help us to expand and deliver an outstanding quality of service.”