BCG launches research unit: Bruce Henderson Institute

01 May 2015

The Boston Consulting Group has yesterday, on the day that founder Bruce Henderson would have turned 100, launched a new research Institute. The so-called Bruce Henderson Institute will be dedicated to developing pioneering new ideas and approaches to solving business challenges.

Bruce Doolin Henderson was born in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 30, 1915. After graduating from Vanderbilt University in Nashville and Harvard Business School he began his career in 1941 with Westinghouse Corporation. He worked there for 18 years, becoming one of the youngest Vice Presidents in the company’s history. In 1959, Henderson joined Arthur D. Little – regarded by many as the globe’s oldest management consultancy – as Senior Vice President of management services. It was four years later that Henderson was encouraged by the CEO of the Boston Safe Deposit and Trust Company to start a consulting department within the bank. He accepted the offer and started what would eventually become The Boston Consulting Group.

BCG - Bruce Henderson Institute

More than 50 years down the line, The Boston Consulting Group has become one of the most influential management consultancies of the globe. The business advisory currently has more than 10,000 employees – a mark passed last year – active in 82 offices across 46 countries and a revenue estimated to be around $4.5 billion. Henderson remained at the top of the firm up to 1980, and under his leadership BCG developed breakthrough concepts, such as the Growth Share Matrix or The Experience Curve, that helped establish the firm’s reputation as a pioneer of business strategy and help clients revolutionise their business and operations. In 1985, Bruce retired from BCG to become chairman emeritus, opting to dedicate his time to a teaching career at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. Henderson passed away on July 20, 1992 and at his death, the Financial Times observed: “Few people have had as much impact on international business in the second half of the 20th century.”

In honour of the hundredth anniversary of the firm’s founder*, BCG has launched the ‘Bruce Henderson Institute’, an entity that will seek to develop ideas at the cross-section of strategy and execution. “Bruce was truly a leading pioneer in business strategy and a key figure in the development of today’s management consulting industry,” says Richard Lesser, BCG’s Chief Executive Officer. “Many of his original ideas and concepts for understanding business opportunities and challenges continue to be used by consultants and business leaders around the world. In a period of immense challenges for the global economy, the establishment of the Bruce Henderson Institute exemplifies BCG’s commitment to stay on the cutting edge of ideas and to translate those ideas into meaningful business impact.”

Richard Lesser | Martin Reeves | Judith Wallenstein | Arindam Bhattacharya

The unit will be headed by Martin Reeves, a senior partner in BCG’s New York office and author of the forthcoming book ‘Your Strategy Needs a Strategy’ (Harvard Business Review Press, June 2015). Judith Wallenstein, a partner in BCG’s Berlin office, will lead the institute’s European efforts while Arindam Bhattacharya, a senior partner in BCG’s New Delhi office, will lead the institute in Asia and emerging markets. “Bruce Henderson challenged us always to raise the bar higher,” comments Reeves. “We hope that by creating a center of excellence for developing new ideas for business, we can honor and sustain Bruce’s original mission when founding BCG: to always bring new insight and value to our clients.”

As part of the Bruce Henderson Institute, BCG has also established a Center for Macroeconomics, tasked with exploring the impact of global macroeconomic developments on business, growth, and innovation. The center will be led by Germany-based partner Philipp Carlsson-Szlezak.

* In a comparable move to recognise the impact of a key former leader, McKinsey & Company earlier this year launched the Bracken Bower Prize, co-named after Marvin Bower, Managing Director of McKinsey from 1950 to 1967, who was instrumental in laying the foundations for the present day success of the consultancy.


Fast growing consultancy Step5 rebrands for next growth phase

18 January 2019

Innovative transformation consultancy Step5 has completed a rebranding of its corporate identity as it looks to push forward with rapid growth into a fifth successive year. CEO Howard Dickel told why the change in image is so important, and how the consultancy as a whole has grown in recent years.

Step5 was established in 2010 by co-founders Clive Fenton (current Chairman) and Jim Berrisford (incumbent COO). In 2014, the firm’s present CEO Howard Dickel joined, a year before Step5 hit £1 million in turnover. Building on that, for the past four years Step5 has enjoyed growth of more than 30%, and now boasts more than £1 billion in programme budgets managed and an expanding team of over 60 consultants.

Dickel took up the top job at the company last year, and is now keen to kick on from the firm’s recent success, particularly after Step5’s recent rebranding. The new brand identity was developed with creative agency gt&i, and aims to capture the essence of the business today. Step5’s CEO believes this essence is “quietly confident, with an inner strength”, thanks to a diversity of unique skills among the firm’s talent, enabling Step5 teams to constantly innovate and surprise clients. According to Dickel, the rebrand marks the next stage in the company’s development, supporting Step5’s aim to compete on a world stage.

Fast growing consultancy Step5 rebrands for next growth phaseExplaining the firm’s new identity further, Dickel told, “High value, high cost strategic consultancy provides insight but leaves the challenge of implementation.  Step5’s strength lies in bridging the gap.  We work closely with our clients to develop and deliver complex business transformation projects and get failing projects back on track.  In the words of our new strapline: Together we can.”

Step5 is one of the UK’s fastest growing business transformation consultancies, and as with many new competitors in the professional services sector, aims to offer clients an alternative to the Big Four. As is the case with other firms looking to do this, Step5 differentiates itself from the quartet’s ‘impersonal’ approach by working to develop a trusted partner relationship with clients and drive change from within companies.

Long-term ambitions

In order to tackle this challenge, Step5 remains on the look-out for forward-thinking individuals, whether already working in the sector or looking for something new. In the long term, its ambition is to grow within the private sector, and in particular the FTSE 250 companies, and to reach its target of £20 million in turnover by 2020.

Among clients already tapping into Step5’s services are the Ministry of Defence, BAE Systems, Barclays, Experian, Serco and Sopra Steria, among others. As well as building a reputation in the private sector, Step5 consultants have worked on some of the UK’s most challenging public and private sector initiatives – including the £1 billion recovery of the spine programme for the NHS and management and delivery of all telecommunications for the London 2012 Olympics.


According to Dickel, recent engagements are particularly encouraging for the firm moving forward. Lately, the firm supported a leading bank’s move into the £32 billion UK motor finance market, and worked to deliver a complex organisational transformation programme for the world’s leading information services company to better support its strategic goals and deliver savings across all services.

Dickel added, “We also transformed an internal IT function for a European leader in digital transformation, including people, process, operating model and market positioning. This has provided them with a robust, industry best practice function that delivered savings across the company and increased the internal IT capability from an Application, Infrastructure and Management perspective.”

Reflecting once more on the rebrand, he concluded, “Step5 offers clients an alternative to the Big Four consultancies – and it is recognised by its clients as the people who make complex business transformation projects happen... Step5 has grown and developed over the years. The company has come a long way and now it’s time to transform itself to reflect that.”