Ailis McKernan joins AMR International to head Digital practice

18 October 2017

Global strategy consultancy AMR International has appointed Ailis McKernan as the Head of Digital, as part of a new phase of growth for its Digital Practice. McKernan, a former Credo consulting employee, joins from Nectar UK, where she was most recently a Strategy and Product Director.

Founded in 1991, AMR International is a London based consulting firm, which boasts practices in five central areas; Digital, Strategy, Transaction Support, Performance Improvement, and AMR Analytics. Each of these practices is geared toward delivering value and driving transformation within three specialist sectors of Technology, Information and Events. Due to this approach, AMR has seen a steady growth in demand in recent times.

This has seen the consultancy widen its global footprint, with offices across four countries since first opening for business,  boasting presences in the UK, the US, France and India. Further, last year, the group revealed that it had added Jamie Bruce, a senior adviser with over 25 years of experience to its ranks as Managing Director. The senior appointment signified AMR’s intent to further expand the firm's activities across the Events, Industrials and Media & Information Technology sectors.

With its specialist knowledge of industry verticals, AMR is well-placed to advise on the use of digital tools to enhance the customer experience, ensure product excellence, and improve productivity. AMR’s growth is, therefore, due in part to the growing stature of the firm’s Digital arm, which worked with a leading events multinational to redesign and redevelop its digital service packages. The client’s digital revenue was subsequently enhanced by 40%.

Ailis McKernan joins AMR International to head Digital practice”

As part of the company’s efforts to keep up with growing demand, Ailis McKernan has become the latest senior hire at the global consultancy, with AMR International recruiting her to head the firm’s Digital practice. At present, the firm is particularly keen to meet these demands of its private equity clients, as a number of their private equity clients seek to understand how the evolution and implementation of different technologies will influence different sectors.

Private equity operators are increasingly looking to digital as they target the largest conceivable returns. Due to the decreasing costs of technology, coupled with the potential for such innovations to decrease companies’ expenditure on labour costs, the largest returns available are now mostly in tech and digital investment. The venture capital market has, over the past decade, increasingly focused on supporting start-ups in the software and technology segment as a result.

Total venture capital investments hit $127 billion last year, at around 50% of money in play being relating to software development. In the same period, the private equity market has exploded, with buyouts hitting $257 billion last year, and exits generating $328 billion for the market as a whole. The rise of digital has also spurred divestments in other forms of technology, as firms need money to invest in digitisation. Divestments in the tech industry also soared earlier this year, as private equity investors prioritise the newer potential of digital disruption to deliver the best returns.

Helping AMR to seize on the needs of private equity for expertise on the issue, prior to joining the firm’s New York office, Ailis McKernan gained insight across a number of sectors in relation to technology and innovation, working most recently at Aimia, a data-driven marketing and loyalty analytics company. Latterly, this saw her employed as Strategy and Product Director at Aimia-owned Nectar UK, the largest loyalty programme in the UK with 19 million members and a turnover of £300 million. Preceding her three year stint with Aimia, McKernan was an Operations Development Manager for UK supermarket giants Tesco’s online arm, and served as a consultant at Credo between 2009 and 2013. The London based management consulting firm was recently acquired by US headquartered advisory group Teneo.

Executive Chairman of AMR International, Denzil Rankine said, “We are proud to have attracted such a high calibre industry professional… With Ailis on board, we now have the added capabilities to advise across our other sectors on what matters most - enhancing the customer experience, collecting and leveraging data and improving productivity.”

Ailis McKernan meanwhile commented, “Digital means many things to many people. For some, it’s a tool that enables them to enhance products or deliver more effectively, for others it’s a new way of thinking and a culture around which to position their business. Either way, it’s here to stay so understanding how it can best be used is key.”

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Rapid growth sees Quantum Advisory promote trio of partners

18 April 2019

Three senior level consultants have been boosted to the rank of Partner at Quantum Advisory, as the firm works to meet heightened levels of client demand. Aled Edwards, Amanda Burdge and Chris Heirene become Partners as long-time Quantum member Rob Davies retires in May after 15 years as a Partner at the firm.

Founded in 2000, Quantum Advisory provides pension and employee benefits services to employers, scheme trustees and members, with five offices across the UK. The firm has enjoyed exponential growth in recent years, following a number of major client wins and booming demand for its services. It opened a new office in Bristol in 2016 to service the South West and in 2017 relocated its Cardiff office to a larger site within the Welsh capital to house the increased workforce. More recently, Quantum relocated its Amersham, Birmingham and London offices to more spacious premises in the centre of both cities to cope with demand.

The financial services consultancy, which employs 115 people across the UK, has promoted three senior team members to Partner, as part of its wider growth plans. The firm has moved Aled Edwards from Principal Consultant & Actuary, while Amanda Burdge has ascended from Principal Investment Consultant. Chris Heirene, former IT Manager, has also joined the ten current Partners at Quantum.

Aled Edwards most recently managed the actuarial team within Quantum’s Cardiff office as well as providing technical training for all staff. He boasts more than 17 years of pensions experience. He started his career as an Actuary at Jardine Lloyd Thompson’s Bristol wing, before joining Quantum in 2011. Edwards is also the President of the Welsh Actuarial Society (WAS), which supports actuaries and actuarial students living or working in Wales.

Rapid growth sees Quantum Advisory promote trio of Partners

Amanda Burdge joined Quantum’s team in 2001, as one of the fledgling firm’s first employees. Most recently she was a Principal Investment Consultant with the firm, and with more than a quarter of a century’s experience in the sector, she is responsible for providing investment advice to many of Quantum’s key clients with both defined benefit and defined contribution schemes. Prior to her time with Quantum, Burdge spent two years as a consultant with SBJ Benefit Consultants (now Capita), and three years with Tesco Pension Trustees. She currently sits on the Regulation Committee for the Pensions Management Institute.

Chris Heirene initially worked with Quantum as an IT Consultant with Teamwork Technology Services and then UES for over five years, before finally joining the firm itself in 2011. He is now responsible for Quantum’s IT systems across all of its offices, including the network and core server infrastructure which supports the business. Heirene is heavily involved in utilising IT to improve and build upon the processes in place throughout Quantum.

David Deidun, Partner at Quantum Advisory, said of the promotions, “This is a very exciting time for Quantum. The recent round of promotions fully recognise the hard work and dedication shown by the three, all of whom go above and beyond for the company. I’ve no doubt that Aled, Amanda and Chris will settle into their new roles with ease and look forward to working together to grow Quantum even further.”

The news comes as Rob Davies retires in May, after spending fifteen years as a Partner at Quantum. A qualified actuary, Davies was instrumental in setting up Quantum’s Investment Division, specialising in aiding clients with their investment strategies. He will remain with the company on a part-time consultancy basis, while working with several clients in the Fiduciary Manager area.