Management advisory Rising Phoenix Consultancy takes flight in Dubai

07 February 2019

The Emirates has welcomed a new management consultancy with the founding of Rising Phoenix in Dubai, led by managing director Kirsten Westholter.

Aimed at helping clients achieve customer excellence through process improvements, the newly launched Rising Phoenix Consultancy has been established by experienced Dutch consultant Kirsten Westholter, who first visited Dubai on a retail supply-chain project with former employer Molenaar & Lok Consultancy (MLC) three years ago and has since relocated permanently after falling in love with life in the emirate.

With a drs. in Economics (doctorandus, a pre-doctoral title roughly equivalent to a Masters in English-speaking countries) and further post-graduate studies in strategic and change management, Westholter kicked off her career with tech consultancy Sogeti (a part of Capgemini), altogether spending 13 years with the firm and working on long-term assignments for Dutch bank ABN AMRO among others.

From there, Westholter joined Molenaar & Lok Consultancy (MLC) – a Dutch consulting firm specialised in Customer Excellence – which would ultimately lead the senior consultant to Dubai on a transformation project for local retailer Home Centre (part of Dubai-based retail chain Landmark Group), with a focus of improving supply-chain processes. This would require Westholter to travel continuously between the Netherlands and UAE.

Management advisory Rising Phoenix Consultancy takes flight in Dubai

“I felt kind of stuck in between two worlds, the first one being my life in Amsterdam and the latter my new life in Dubai,” says Westholter, reflecting on the time and her comfortable life in Holland, while living out of a suitcase for stretches in Dubai. “Something was missing. Looking back I was stuck in my comfort zone and needed new horizons. In the new life I fell in love with Dubai, with the ease of making new contacts and the thrill of a new challenge.”

With the blessing of MLC, Westholter finally took the plunge, uprooting her former life for new horizons in Dubai – in time landing a positon as a senior business analyst/consultant with German fintech firm Fidor and being immediately thrown into an assignment for ADIB (Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank); one later recognised with an international gold in the Efma-Accenture awards for its innovative community banking platform.

And then, after three years in the region, Westholter felt ready again for another new challenge; with the launch of Rising Phoenix Consultancy coming as a result. “It was time to be brave again,” says Westholter. “Being a freelancer or having my own company was something I had in my mind for a while. Being able to arrange my own assignments, partnerships, doing my own branding/marketing, these are all things which were yelling yes, yes, yes! The time was finally there at the end of the year to make this idea a reality.”

That new reality, Rising Phoenix, is a cross-sector consultancy focused on developing customer journeys and continuously improving processes for SMEs through value adding activities and coaching at all levels of management – with Westholter applying her expertise and experienced gained across Europe and the Middle East in business process improvement (Lean/Six Sigma), process analysis and (re)-design, change and project management, and coaching and customer excellence.

Carlos Ghosn's daughters get their career starts in strategy consulting

16 April 2019

With the Ghosn affair taking yet another twist, this time concerning allegations in Oman, the world’s media remains gripped.

A highly celebrated figure in Lebanon, the case of ex-Nissan and now ex-Renault head Carlos Ghosn has captivated the media round the world, with his re-arrest and detainment in Japan on further embezzlement charges last week – this time concerning allegations in Oman – delivering the latest twist in the saga. For his part, Ghosn continues to deny the charges, labeling the latest allegations of financial impropriety as “outrageous and arbitrary”.

Much of the media fascination stems from Ghosn’s remarkable story. Born to Lebanese immigrants in Brazil, Ghosn spent much of his youth in Lebanon before moving to Paris to pursue an engineering degree – and in almost no time arriving at the very top of the global automotive industry as a feted turn-around specialist, having rescued both Renault and Nissan from probable ruin. The other factor; a cultivated lifestyle of celebrity glamour.

Front and centre in that image was Ghosn’s young family, including a son Anthony and three daughters – Caroline, Maya and Nadine – who have all grown into their own spotlight in the international business and entrepreneurial worlds. And in line with that A-list background, all three of his daughters got their career starts at the crème de la crème of the strategy and management consulting world; prestigious MBB firms McKinsey & Company and BCG.The Ghosn family affair with the international consulting sector  The eldest Ghosn daughter, Caroline, joined McKinsey in 2007 following a BA in International Relations at Stamford University – before founding professional career network Levo in 2011 with three of her McKinsey associates. Her husband, Nicholas Flanders, CEO and co-founder of carbon reduction tech-company Opus 12, (and former COO of Levo), is likewise an alumnus of McKinsey – serving for three and a half years alongside Ghosn in the firm’s New York office.

Carlos Ghosn’s second daughter got her start at Boston Consulting Group.  A regonised name in luxury fashion as the founder and creative director of Nadine Ghosn Fine Jewelry, her brand counts and Beyoncé and the recently deceased fashion icon Karl Largerfeld among its celebrity clientele. At BCG, Nadine, who also graduated Stamford, served as an associate in the firm’s luxury and consumer goods practice before joining a management programme at Hermès.

Like her eldest sister, Ghosn’s youngest daughter Maya joined McKinsey’s New York office – spending over three years there as an engagement manager before departing in 2016. Maya is now Manager, Housing Affordability for the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, founded by Mark Zuckerberg and Pricilla Chan to promote social equality. Incidentally, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, a former McKinsey consultant, has been a mentor to Caroline and also founded, where Maya first started out as an intern.

Carlos Ghosn’s son Anthony – who has now been embroiled in his father’s affair with accusations of money being funneled via Oman toward his financial services start-up, Shogun (where he is CEO but has not been accused of any direct involvement) – didn’t get his break at an MBB, but his step-brother, Anthony Marshi, the son of Carlos Ghosn’s second wife Carole Nahas, is a partner with BCG in New York according to French newspaper Le Figaro.