John Alexander succeeds Marcus Agius as Chairman of PA Consulting

04 April 2018 4 min. read
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PA Consulting’s incumbent Chairman has confirmed his succession plans, as he steps back into the role of Deputy Chairman. Marcus Agius, who was behind a major private equity investment in PA, will oversee the office’s transition to John Alexander, Chairman of leading global environmental and sustainability consultancy ERM, who has joined PA to assume the position.

Marcus Agius arrived at PA at the start of 2014, becoming Chairman of then-employee-owned PA Consulting. Stepping into the role after the retirement of Jon Moynihan, the Chairmanship was Agius’ first role since relinquishing the same role at Barclays in the previous year, following the Libor rate-fixing scandal. At the time of his arrival, many in the City assumed that his role would be to sell the employee-owned firm, something he denied.

Two years later, Agius had seen the firm through the completion of a partnership investment deal – rather than a full-on sale – as PA signed with private equity firm Carlyle. The US group valued the UK-headquartered business at $1 billion (then worth £700 million). The deal saw Carlyle take a 51% stake in PA, with the firm’s 2,500 employees retaining a minority stake of 49%, and sharing in the spoils of a £116 million cash payment.

Marcus Agius and John Alexander - PA Consulting

In 2015, with the conclusion of the Carlyle investment, Agius had announced his intensions to step down as Chairman before the next investment period, anticipated to take place after five years. Now, with the best part of two years remaining until that window closes, Agius has set out plans for a smooth transition of responsibilities to inbound John Alexander, who assumes the role of Chairman from April, while his predecessor takes on the role of Deputy Chairman, remaining engaged with PA and the Board through the remainder of the investment period, while being well-positioned to provide assistance and advice to Alexander.

Former Schlumberger Geophysicist John Alexander arrives at PA Consulting from his most recent engagement as the Chairman of Environmental Resources Management (ERM). Alexander has a history of chairing private equity-backed firms; in 2017 he was appointed Chairman of ERM, having previously served as CEO from 2008. During that tenure, Alexander led efforts to secure investment from 2 new private equity investors. He oversaw the successful courtship of investors Charterhouse in 2011, and; Omers PE together with AIMCo in 2015, taking ERM’s enterprise value from $525 million to over $1.75 billion in the process. 

Also in 2017, he became Chairman of another private equity-backed firm. HKA, a provider of claims management consulting/expert evidence for delay and quantum claims on major capital projects, was formed as an MBO/carve-out from Hill International, and supported by Bridgepoint Development Capital. He also boasts extensive international pedigree, having worked in Asia, US, Australia, UK and across Europe, and the Middle East.

New Chairman

The independent consulting firm of over 2,600 people has offices across the Americas, Europe, the Nordics and the Gulf. Alexander now assumes the role of Chairman at PA, and as such will lead the firm’s Board, while Chief Executive Officer Alan Middleton will continue to lead the company, in the role he has held since 2007.

Commenting on his successor, Marcus Agius said, “John Alexander is the perfect individual to take on the Chairmanship of PA. His wide business experience will be of great benefit to the firm and, just as importantly, I believe that his values and style will work well at PA.”

Remarking on his new challenge, meanwhile, John Alexander added, “PA is an outstanding company as characterised by the quality of its people, clients and performance over the years. It is excellent that Marcus will remain committed to PA and I look forward to the opportunity of working with him, Alan Middleton, PA’s CEO and the rest of the leadership team to support the company’s continued growth and development.”

Related: John Madeley joins PA Consulting Group's financial services team as Partner