Double celebration for advisor Simon-Kucher & Partners

02 February 2016

A double celebration for Simon-Kucher & Partners: in the year when it celebrated its 30th anniversary, the consultancy has also managed to book the most successful performance in its history. The international consultancy, headquartered in Germany, last year grew its revenue by 21%, helping it beak through the barrier of €200 million in revenue.

It was late 2010 when Klaus Hilleke and Georg Tacke, co-CEOs of Simon-Kucher & Partners, made the headlines in the world of consulting. In a period when the world of business was gripped by the aftermath of the economic crisis,  leaving organiations paralysed in terms strategic growth ambition, the co-CEOs sent out a clear, but bold – in the eyes of many an audaciously bold – statement. “We have set the goal of hitting the €200 million mark by 2015.” In particular in the light of the state of the consulting industry at the time – counterpart Roland Berger and Monitor Group were facing rough waters and LECG and dozens of other consultancies found themselves on the brink of collapse – analysts took the message with a grain of salt.

Revenue of Simon-Kucher & Partners

Roughly five years down the line Hilleke and Tacke look back at what they describe as a “brilliant and ground-breaking performance.” And according to analysts that shadow the consulting space, rightfully so. Last year Simon-Kucher & Partners, a consultancy with a focus on marketing and sales services, booked a revenue of €209 million, growing by 21% compared to the previous year. The result had to an extent been expected, as featured by in the summer of 2015, yet nevertheless Hilleke and Tacke say they are “thrilled” with seeing the facts on the table.

The co-CEOs trace the growth back to clients' interest in growth strategies. In almost all industries and regions, sustainable growth strategies are in high demand. “This has played right to our strengths, since growth has always been at the core of our consulting work. With our focus on boosting top line performance, we help our clients to grow their revenue and profit,” says Hilleke. From an industry point of view, the main driver was the financial services sector (up 27%), while from a regional perspective the markets in the USA, Singapore, the Middle East, the UK, Italy and Spain all played major roles delivering growth, with each market seeing an increase in fee income of over 30%.

Simon-Kucher & Partners now employs 860 employees – over 100 more than the previous year – across its footprint, which spans more than 30 offices. The majority of offices are based in Europe, with seven based in the Americas and four in Asia.

Georg Tacke and Klaus Hilleke - Simon-Kucher and Partners

Looking ahead, Hilleke and Tacke say they are convinced that the firm is well positioned to face similar bright fortunes in the years to come. Hilleke refers to the growing trend he sees towards growth strategies – although a recent survey by PwC launched in the run up to the WEF in Davos found that CEO confidence is down slightly – and points at the significant growth potential which looms in the digital sales and marketing space. The German-origin consulting firm also plans at growing by entering new markets. “New offices in Geneva, Hamburg and San Francisco will open in the near future,” reveals Tacke, adding that in particular the upcoming San Francisco hub is sending a buzz through the firm’s ranks, with Tacke describing the location as “the center of a booming market."

In terms of hard numbers, the co-CEOs disclose the consultancy is aiming for €240 million in revenue in 2016, while the number of employees is forecasted to reach 1,000 by the end of the year. By 2020 the ambition is to near the €400 million mark.

In a world where fast paced change and rapid technological advancements have become business as usual, making strategy setting substantially more complicated than it was decades ago, such statements are typically welcomed with some reservation. Yet in the case of Simon-Kucher & Partners the firm has since 2010 been close to spot on with its forecast (which it sends out twice a year), and with project pipelines full to the brim 2016 is well on its way to be another record breaking year.

Simon-Kucher & Partners was founded in 1985 in Bonn by Hermann Simon, Eckhard Kucher and Karl-Heinz Sebastian. In 2009 Simon stepped down as CEO of the firm, he currently serves as Chairman of the firm.


PA Consulting results reveal record 14% revenue growth

17 April 2019

Global professional services firm PA Consulting has reported another year of strong growth, outpacing the global consulting market significantly over the duration of 2018. PA’s revenue boomed by 14%, passing £455.8 million over the course of the year.

Founded in 1943, by Englishmen Ernest Butten, Tom Kirkham and David Seymour, the firm once known as Personnel Administration has since gone on to become one of the largest consulting firms in the world. PA Consulting Group, as it is now known, has over 2,600 professionals and a global presence spanning 18 countries. While turnover took a decade to recover from a rocky spell after the global financial crisis, PA Consulting is now firmly on the upward incline.

PA has booked strong growth in recent years, following its securing of private equity investment from the Carlyle Group in 2015. While the first full year of results following that move were slightly muted, due in part to the altering of how PA measured its results, the decision has clearly paid dividends since. Revenues jumped by 6% in 2017, hitting an all-time high of £400 million in the process.

Annual consulting revenues of PA Consulting versus UK market

Now, in the latest chapter of the firm’s rapid turnaround, the innovation and transformation consultancy has revealed things only got better in 2018. A set of record results released in April have confirmed that fee income rocketed up by 14% over the course of the prior 12 months, hitting £455.8 million. Considering the UK’s consulting market saw growth slow for the second year running (just 5.6%), PA’s performance is even more pronounced, especially in its first year of full results since influential Chair Marcus Agius stood down. 

The firm is also outpacing the global consulting market. Analytics firm Statista estimates that the consulting market expanded by 4.08% in 2018. As a result of such bullish demand, PA Consulting has also bolstered its staffing, boosting its consulting team’s headcount by 10% in the space of 12 months. 

PA’s team was further strengthened with its continued acquisition campaign, which brought three new firms into the fold during 2018. Boston-based innovation company Essential Design, specialist digital service design firm We Are Friday and London-based digital insight and strategy consultancy Sparkler all became part of PA over the course of the year. PA has also announced plans to recruit 400 professionals for its new digital centre in Belfast. 

‘Not traditional’

In terms of client work, in the UK PA supported Skipping Rocks Lab to create an edible alternative to single use plastic drink packaging, and worked on a notable restructuring project at disability charity Scope. Further afield, PA helped Norwegian authorities deliver their citizen-facing digital services, while in the US and India, PA partnered with Virgin Hyperloop One to build the first new mode of transport in a century, one that hopes to revolutionise travel. It even worked with United Nations to identify the technologies most likely to contribute to the achievement of the organization's Sustainable Development Goals.

Commenting on the year’s performance, Alan Middleton, PA Consulting CEO, said, “We’re not a traditional consulting firm and we think this is key to our ongoing success and why 98% of our clients recommend us… Our people are strategists, technologists, digital experts, consultants, designers, scientists and engineers – all of whom bring real-world experience, and apply it at pace. We offer the innovation, design, digital and transformation skills that our clients need to change, fast. There’s a sense of optimism behind our purpose. And it’s a feeling that inspires our people as well as our clients.”

The existing staff of PA also enjoyed a bumper year, as it was revealed that a refinancing manoeuver at the firm was expected to land over 1,000 employee shareholders a significant pay-out. The firm’s debt, which includes vendor loan notes put in place when Carlyle purchased the firm, is set to be refinanced in a deal worth £350 million.