FRONT Consulting appoints new country head in the Netherlands

05 September 2017 5 min. read
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FRONT Consulting, a consultancy for the financial services industry, has named a new country head for its Dutch operations. Sergio Franssen joins the firm as Country Manager for The Netherlands, bringing with him more than 20 years of consulting and digital experience.

Franssen most recently served as Consulting Services Director Benelux for Teradata in the Benelux. During his 3+ years in the role, he helped the American IT giant grow its footprint in the region – a €2 billion management consulting market – while bolstering profitability of the consultancy business through improved operations and margin management. Prior to that, he worked over 7 years for HP Enterprise Services in several roles, including as a Project- and Programme manager, latterly heading the firm’s delivery of Analytics & Data Management engagements for clients across the EMEA. 

During the first ten years of his career Franssen worked for several consulting firms, which include Dutch consultancies PDM Group, Pink Roccade and Canadian-origin CGI. He as well held IT consultancy/project management roles at client organisations, including automotive manufacturer NedCar, Saudi chemicals giant Sabic and telecom player Vodafone. 

In his new role at FRONT Consulting, Franssen has been tasked with leading the firm’s ambitious growth agenda in the Netherlands at a time when the local financial services industry is facing major disruption from global players, particularly tech firms and rapidly growing FinTechs, as well as from the changing demands of consumers, who are upping their expectations in sync with user experience developments in other industries.

Sergio Franssen and Sam Dezellie - Front Consulting

“I am delighted to welcome Sergio to the team, he has a fantastic track record supporting great companies and his experience will be invaluable as FRONT looks to continue growth in our market,” said Sam Dezillie, one of FRONT Consulting’s earliest partners. The consulting firm was founded in Belgium in 2005 by Henk Drappier and David Staquet, who knew each other from their joint stint at payments player SWIFT. In 2007, Sam Dezillie, a former management consultant at PwC Advisory and banker at Fortis Bank, joined as a Partner. Since, the firm has seen international expansion, with the opening of Luxembourg and UK offices in 2009, and the launch of operations in the Netherlands and France the following year.

As it stands, FRONT Consulting has around 80 consultants across its footprint, working for banks, insurance companies, asset managers, pension funds and regulatory bodies from three internally organised competence centres: FSI Consulting, Technology and Data Management. The firm has built a particularly strong track record in the asset management space, a segment within financial services which holds more than $166 trillion in private wealth, according to The Boston Consulting Group, yet which is at the same time struggling with the increased cyclicality of the market, changing client experiences and the digital disconnect between expectations and delivery. 

Growth strategy

The Dutch wing currently has a team of up to 20 consultants – Drappier and Staquet have given Franssen the mandate to pursue an aggressive growth strategy in the next two years, with a target of “more than doubling by the end of 2018” highlighted by Franssen to as the main objective. Commenting on his new challenge, the Country Manager added “I very much look forward to working alongside all the exceptional people across FRONT to accelerate growth and expand whilst maintaining Front’s special qualities and reputation for excellence.”

As a backdrop to FRONT’s growth ambitions, the outlook of the Dutch consulting market faces ambiguity. According to Source Global Research, the Dutch consulting market is forecasted to book a modest 3% growth this year, while a survey by among >150 executives in the country showed that much stronger growth is expected – last year more than 50% of top tier firms booked growth of above 10%. Financial services is the largest industry in the Benelux, estimated to account for between 25% and 30% of the total industry.

FRONT Consulting Netherlands is based in Amsterdam (Hogehilweg 19), close to where many of its rivals are located, including the likes of Synechron (financial services specialist), Alpha FMC (specialised in asset management), and larger peers such as Accenture and the Big Four.