Former Wavestone CEO launches new consultancy: Cupertino Partners

12 January 2018 Consultancy.uk

The ex-Chief Executive of management consultancy Wavestone’s UK wing has launched a new consultancy. Harry McDermott will now head Cupertino Partners, a group aimed at helping ambitious SMEs and start-ups to realise their potential.

In 2006 Harry McDermott founded niche, London-based consulting firm Hudson & Yorke, where he served as CEO. In 2015 he sold the business to Paris-based Solucom – which later rebranded as 'Wavestone'. McDermott was retained as UK CEO and a member of the Group Executive Committee until 2017, and as part of the firm’s 2017 expansion drive, he oversaw ambitious targets set for Wavestone’s UK business, looking to add 100 new consultants to the total staff. Commenting at the time, he stated, “To meet a growing demand, we are seeking to expand our UK consulting team, with the aim of hiring an additional 100 consultants in the next 2-3 years.”

McDermott remained with Wavestone UK until the completion of Hudson & Yorke’s post-merger integration into the group, last year, at which point he exited the business to pursue new interests and opportunities. Over the course of his career, McDermott has helped clients to structure and negotiate some of the largest and most complex global technology deals in sectors such as financial services, pharmaceuticals, FMCG, energy and utilities. He is also an accredited STEM Ambassador to enthuse schoolchildren about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Now, the successful entrepreneur is looking to leverage his more than 30 years of experience in technology and related professional services to launch a new consulting venture. 

Harry McDermottCupertino Partners is an independent network of senior experienced professionals. The new company states that it aims to enable small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups to be successful. The group will aid clients with the navigation of their entrepreneurial journeys, drawing heavily on Harry McDermott’s own experiences as a business-founder.

In the inaugural blog released on Cupertino’s website, McDermott stated, “I am delighted to launch Cupertino Partners, an independent advisory firm aimed at early stage technology and professional services firms. Having personally navigated the entirety of the entrepreneurial journey from start-up to successful exit, I can relate to the many challenges facing young ambitious businesses. I remember clearly the adrenalin of the early years of my own niche venture, a period fuelled by vision, passion, commitment and creativity. I want to tap into this again and to help founder/CEOs to be successful.”

Start-ups have seen a major boost in business prospects in recent years, thanks to a dramatic and sustained period of development in digital technology. Now, new challengers can compete with long-term market incumbents by wielding innovative business practices and digital operations structures – to the extent CEOs of many traditional companies are seeking to emulate them. Indeed, while investors were initially hesitant to back new technology, for fear of what disruption its development might cause to the market, 74% of British organisations alone now say that they are investing in innovation themselves rather than waiting to be disrupted by competitors. As start-ups bid to maintain their competitive edge on these large firms, the consulting industry could provide important strategic advice on how to best utilise the increased agility of an SME or a new company.

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Robert Park on the launch of his consultancy RWG Enterprises

18 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Following a lengthy spell as a General Manager at an international materials corporation, Robert Park was keen to rediscover his inner entrepreneur. With the launch of his new consulting firm, RWG Enterprises, Park spoke with Consultancy.uk to outline his hopes for the future of the company, and how he believes his boutique will be able to challenge the market.

Robert Park commenced his career in retail, taking up a string of General Store Manager positions with companies – including Poundstretcher and The Gadget Shop – before making the 2005 move that would lead him to a 13-year stay with Morgan Advanced Materials. First taking up a role as Production Supervisor with the organisation, Park quickly worked his way to the upper echelons of the group. By 2013, he held the role of UK Operations Manager for the company’s UK ceramic core business, Certech UK, before seeing out his final four years at the firm as General Manager, leading the senior management team and strategic direction of the business.

Despite his success with the firm, however, Park found himself getting itchy feet. A change of career seemed increasingly appealing, and by February 2019, the time to take a new path had arrived.

Park explained: “I was losing the ability to to use the entrepreneurial flair that I had enjoyed in the past; the organisation was moving more towards a structured and common approach for doing things, and that made me feel restricted. I also really enjoy the troubleshooting, problem solving side of my role. However, having been in my last post for four years, the troubleshooting and firefighting was long behind me. I realised that I am really energised by tackling difficult issues or turning around things that are clearly struggling.”

New consulting firm RWG Enterprises launches

His criteria for a new career seemed to point conclusively in the direction of management consulting, and while his CV has no formal experience in the sector, Park believes his career to date has provided him with a wealth of transferable skills. During his time with Certech at Morgan Advanced Materials, he became a Senior Manager at the age of just 21, and went on to succeed in a harsh factory environment where six former candidates had previously failed to deliver results.

Later, he became the group’s youngest General Manager in its history, and was involved in the turnaround of numerous departments. He also developed vast experience dealing with a wide range of ‘people’ challenges, including re-organisation, talent development, talent acquisition and leadership development. Along the way, Park noted that he learned to deal with large, blue chip organisations such as Rolls Royce, securing major long-term contracts worth upwards of £25 million.

Now, he hopes to take that know-how and apply it to the diverse world of consulting work. Park elaborated: “I really want to be able to help organisations that feel that there is no hope or have lost faith in the business… Having been there myself I know how helpful it would have been to have someone to refer to in times of crisis… The firm will also focus on leadership development, as I spent a lot of time with the global graduate program during my corporate career… and I was really motivated to see these individuals grow and develop… helping them to find their own way through challenging situations.

New enterprise

Park’s new Derby-based consultancy, RWG Enterprises, will focus on five key operational fronts. As stated, leadership development and business rescue will be two of these areas, as well as manufacturing – where the firm will tackle challenges such as new product introduction. RWG will also offer financial advisory services and strategic business planning offerings.

While Park is understandably guarded about the firm’s initial engagements, he revealed that he has been “speaking at length to a well-known university and business school about providing mentoring and coaching support to students.” In the long-term, the aim is for RWG Enterprises to take on engagements from clients across the industrial spectrum. He added that as “the company is very embryonic”, it would be “foolish” to become too focused on target clients at this stage.

When asked how RWG Enterprises intends to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack, in an ever-more-crowded UK consulting sector, Park is undaunted by the task ahead. He stated, “I think the main differentiator is that we are small... I have operated at a very senior level for many years but I have enjoyed a very diverse background having worked in most functions within my last organisation. I also won’t take on any work or clients that I feel I cannot deliver value for, I am honest and ethical and am really motivated by seeing others become successful… The main thing I am focused on is 'can I add value' and 'can I help?'”