BCG buys purpose-driven consultancy BrightHouse

08 June 2015

Global consulting firm The Boston Consulting Group has acquired BrightHouse, a US-based consultancy that specialises in ideation management and “purpose-driven” advisory. 20 advisors will join BCG. BrightHouse will under the leadership of the newly-hired Doug Shipman continue to operate as a stand-alone business unit.

BrightHouse was founded in 1995 by Joey Reiman, who currently still serves as the CEO of the firm. The advisory was one of the pioneers in ideation, believing firmly in the notion that “better” is not just bigger profit, but also a greater number of people who profit from a more purposeful organisation, as well as embedding CSR and sustainability objectives within a company’s mission. The consultancy works with organisations to define their true purpose and then align their culture, strategy, and branding around that purpose to accelerate transformation and value creation, while positively impacting society. BrightHouse has since its establishment grown to one of the frontrunners in the field, and works for several Fortune 500 companies such as American Express, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Michelin, KPMG, Nestlé, and Procter & Gamble.


In line with its ambition to bolsters its strategy and organisational capabilities, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), one of the globe’s largest management consultancies, has acquired Atlanta-based BrightHouse. As part of the transaction – terms and conditions have not been disclosed – all 20 advisors of BrightHouse, including the firm’s leadership, will transfer to BCG. Founder Joey Reiman — a recognised authority on leadership, marketing, and creativity* — will remain actively involved as Chairman. Cathy Carlisi will stay as President and Chief Creative Officer, and Dolly Meese will continue as Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer.

To lead BrightHouse, which will operate as a stand-alone business unit within BCG but work closely with the firm’s industry and functional practices, the global strategy consultancy has appointed Doug Shipman, who will start his new role in mid-July. Shipman is a former BCG principal – he worked in the firm’s New York, Mumbai, and Atlanta offices over a nearly six-year period, leaving in February 2007 to lead an effort to establish the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. The Center, an award-winning cultural institution that opened to the public last June, connects the American Civil Rights Movement to today’s global human-rights movements.

Rich Lesser, Mike Deimler, Doug Shipman, Joey Reiman, Cathy Carlisi, Dolly Meese

According to Rich Lesser, BCG’s Global CEO, BrightHouse represents an important capabilities acquisition for the firm. “By adding BrightHouse’s creative strengths to BCG’s, we can each expand our offerings and fulfill greater, deeper, and longer-term client demand. Together, we have one-of-a-kind capabilities—a holistic solution and partner for both purpose articulation and activation across our clients’ entire organisations to create transformative growth.” Mike Deimler, former global leader of BCG’s Strategy practice and now tasked with expanding BCG’s service footprint, says the acquisition demonstrates the firm’s commitment to bringing “new sources of value creation to BCG’s clients.”

BrightHouse founder CEO says he is “proud” of the joining of forces, stating “the company that pioneered business strategy is uniting with the company that pioneered purpose. BCG is the perfect partner to help us bring about purpose-driven transformation across our clients’ enterprises.”

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Shipman comments: “Issues of purpose and impact are top of mind for leaders of public, private, and non-profit organizations. I’m thrilled to be joining BrightHouse. Together with BCG will have an unparalleled offering, leveraging BCG’s global reach and deep expertise across industries and functions.”

For BCG it is the first major acquisition globally since it last year acquired Strategic & Creative, a digital design firm based in Sydney, Australia. The move saw 20 consultants join BCG’s Digital Ventures business unit. Earlier in 2014 BCG had poached a large team of partners and (senior) advisors from Booz & Company to grow BCG Digital Ventures, capitalising on the uncertainty created by Booz’s decision to sell its business to PwC for an estimated $1 billion. In April 2014 Booz & Company was rebranded as Strategy&.

Last month rival McKinsey & Company acquired design firm Lunar for an undisclosed amount. 

* Reiman has written three books on purpose-inspired leadership, marketing, and innovation. In 2004, Fast Company named him to its list of “100 people, ideas, and trends that will change how we work and live.”


SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

19 April 2019

UK consulting firm SQW Group has completed its first acquisition since it completed a management buyout in January 2019. BBP Regeneration joins the company having collaborated with SQW for more than 20 years.

Established in 1983, SQW Group now operates all over the world. Comprising SQW, Oxford Innovation, Oxford Innovation Services – one of the UK’s leading innovation centre operators – and Oxford Investment Opportunities Network, the organisation’s origins can be traced to Britain’s two ancient university cities: Oxford, through Oxford Trust founders, Martin and Audrey Wood, and Cambridge, through SQW’s work in producing The Cambridge Phenomenon.

The consultancy specialises in public policy, working with entities from the public, private and voluntary sectors to research, develop, implement and evaluate social and economic development interventions. It now employs over 250 people across regional offices in London, Oxford and Edinburgh, and provides business support to over 4,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses each year. At the start of 2019, SQW secured its independence in a management buyout, advised on by M&A experts from Liberty Corporate Finance and Penningtons Manches.

SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

SQW has strengthened its position as a provider of services across the business spectrum with the acquisition of BBP Regeneration. Founded in 1994, the consulting firm specialises in land and property-based regeneration and growth schemes, and is a leading social and economic development consultancy. 

The two firms first worked together over 20 years ago, when SQW and BBP collaborated to develop the first Regional Economic Strategy for the South East. More recently, they developed an economic strategy for Thanet and are now working together in locations stretching from Cwmbran via Oxfordshire to London.

With the addition of BBP, SQW can now provide an integrated advisory service for organisations developing property schemes which deliver economic benefit to their local area. By joining SQW, meanwhile, BBP hopes to further enhance its ability to support clients in delivering property and place-making ambitions. 

Speaking about the deal, SQW CEO David Crichton-Miller commented, “The UK more than ever needs solutions to the challenges of places – of high streets under threat, of meeting housing delivery targets, and of both economically over-successful and economically challenged towns and cities – and the combination of SQW and BBP is uniquely suited to developing those solutions. [This deal] brings together critical and complementary services relating to places to serve our clients with leading edge and practical advice.”

Andy Smith, Director of BBP Regeneration, added, “SQW shares with BBP the same values of seeking to provide outstanding, practical, real world advice that helps get buildings built and places developed.  We greatly look forward to the opportunities that come from joining our two organisations together.”