BCG buys purpose-driven consultancy BrightHouse

08 June 2015 5 min. read

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.

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.”

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.”