Newcastle consulting firm opens Baghdad office

05 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

A Newcastle-based consultancy has announced it will open its first office in Iraq. The news comes despite warnings that the area remains “high risk” for businesses.

16 years after the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the nation remains a shadow of its former self. The continued chaos wrought by the Iraq War – which eventually played a role in the rise to prominence of Daesh, further destabilising the region – means that even now, the nation’s capital is deemed to have the lowest quality of living in the world. According to a recent survey from Mercer, Baghdad ranked last overall – immediately below Bangui of the Central African Republic and Damascus in Syria – despite the other two being determined as the worst cities on the planet for personal safety.

However, as with the wider Middle East, the oil-rich state presents a lucrative destination to businesses willing to take the risk. To that end, a Newcastle recruitment consultancy has announced the opening of its first presence in Iraq’s capital city. Samuel Knight has taken the decision to open its Baghdad locale in order to grow its business in the Middle East.

Newcastle consulting firm opens Baghdad office

While businesses remain wary of the region, Samuel Knight specialises in recruiting talent in the energy and rail sectors, and in a release it said the new office would continue to focus on these areas. It will also allow the firm to make sure it abides by local compliance laws. The new location will be headed up by Haider Kadhim, Samuel Knight’s Iraq country manager, who will work as the first point of contact for clients and candidates. Representatives from the Department of Trade Industry are expected to attend a launch event for the office, which will be held this month.

Commenting on the new office,  a spokesperson for Samuel Knight said, “We probably don’t see it as a risk, but more of an opportunity, as we operate in the Middle East extensively already. We have contacts in place in the country location and with the consultants we have. We felt it was a great opportunity to expand into a country we are already doing work in. It means we have an on-the-ground team to help our clients. From our perspective, it is that we are looking to expand into new territories, but we are also supporting countries that are starting to redevelop after years of warfare.”

Steve Rawlingson, CEO at Samuel Knight, said, “Our aggressive five-year growth plan is manifesting at  an impressive rate, taking the company to exciting new territories. The team is working diligently to surpass expectations set out in the plan, and to ensure Samuel Knight is cemented as the leading global energy and rail recruitment specialist. Our Baghdad office will give us a distinctive edge over our competition and allow for more exciting business opportunities. Once the office becomes more established and client acquisition develops, we will certainly be adding more consultants and manpower in the city.”

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US change management consultancy opens office in London

23 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

One year after UK consultancy Thought Provoking Consulting invested in American change management firm Change 4 Growth, it has opened its first international office in the UK. Change 4 Growth’s new London locale will see the company look to supply organisational transformation solutions crafted over the last several years in the US to British clients.

Specialising in transformational change, American retail boutique consultancy Change 4 Growth (C4G) offers an expansive range of services. This includes organisational change management, culture alignment and engagement, leadership development, training and e-learning and recruitment of staff support. Well-known retail brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, Chico’s, Eddie Bauer and Ann Taylor are already among C4G’s clients, but since receiving investment from Thought Provoking Consulting in early 2018, the company has been keen to pursue expansion of its own.

Speaking at the time of the deal, Beth Thomas, CEO of C4G, commented, "I’m so excited to be working with Thought Provoking Consulting... The move will allow us to tap into a breadth of retail expertise and help our clients find solutions that are critical in this age in areas such as pricing, promotions, planning, product development and supply chain."

US change management consultancy opens office in London

In 2019, this has seen the Ohio-headquartered consultancy announce the opening of its first international office in London. Led by UK native and Managing Director, David Lucas, the base in Britain’s capital will bring the firm’s holistic service to clients in Europe looking deal with change at every level within their organisations.

Commenting via his LinkedIn profile, Lucas said, “At a time of huge technological upheaval, the importance of organisational and cultural change, married with operational speed and agility, has never been greater. Achieving that balance between people, process and technology for the digital era is the burning platform for most organisations…The C4G team… offers a spectrum of change and re-alignment capabilities and can bring proven approaches, methodologies and solutions to support the UK market.”

In the US, C4G has been able to tap into the fact that disengagement and unhappiness at work have become an epidemic across multiple sectors, resulting in poor business performance and bottom line results. With the UK’s high streets currently faltering due to an influx of e-commerce competition, Brexit pressures, and stagnating real wages, C4G will likely also find fertile ground for its retail-focused transformation services on both sides of the Atlantic.

Remarking on the firm’s arrival ‘across the pond’, Thomas concluded, “Many of our clients are global organisations who have facilities and employees around the world, and as an avid admirer of Britain’s innovative retail community, it has long been my intention to open a C4G office in the UK… With David Lucas, who brings a proven track record of transformational change at the helm and our sister company, Thought Provoking Consulting… we’re more excited than ever to explore the synergies to be discovered in having a UK powerhouse to support not only the retail sector but all industries.”