Morocco hires UK consulting firm to manage 2026 World Cup bid

26 January 2018

As Morocco prepares to launch a fifth campaign to host the globe's most prestigious tournament, the country’s bid will be managed by a British-based consultancy. Vero, a London-based firm with a history of managing successful bids for the FIFA World Cup, will head up Morocco’s efforts for the follow up to Qatar 2022.

Vero, a sports consulting firm based in London, were actually behind the successful bid which saw Qatar controversially named the hosts of the World Cup in four years’ time. In a hope to emulate the Middle Eastern nation’s success, Morocco has reportedly hired the international communication and reputation consultants to manage its 2026 World Cup bid. 

According to sources close to the firm, Vero's consultants are said to be preparing to “shape the vision of the expanded 48-team tournament in the Kingdom.” Should the 2026 World Cup bid prove successful, Morocco will become only the second African nation to play host to FIFA’s hallowed tournament, following South Africa in 2010. 

Morocco hires UK consulting firm to manage 2026 World Cup bid

2026 World Cup bid

Morocco formally announced its intention to host the World Cup in the summer of 2017, declaring that it is ready to organise the international contest, but without giving further details on the host cities and stadiums that this would involve. The news came quickly after the United States of America, Mexico and Canada became the first nations to declare their designs for hosting 2026, tabling a joint bid on April 2017. As part of the preparation for Morocco’s bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, Minister of Industry, Trade, & New Technologies, Moulay Hafid Elalamy, has been appointed as the Chair of Morocco’s Bid Committee by King Mohammed VI. 

This is the fifth time that Morocco have bid for the World Cup, having offered their services in 1994 – when they lost out to the USA, who have also put their names in the hat this time – as well as in 1998, 2006 and 2010. However, as the North African Kingdom prepares to send a team to its first World Cup in 20 years, having qualified for Russia 2018, they will hope their return to football’s top table will boost their profile in the global game. The last time Morocco attended the World Cup, they failed to venture beyond the group stage, having been drawn against Brazil, Scotland and Norway. In Russia, Morocco are due to face Iran, 2010 winners Spain, and current European Champions, Portugal. 

Morocco will also see their hopes boosted by FIFA’s intent to demonstrate that it is a changed organisation. In 2015, football’s global governing body launched an internal probe into its operations, conducted by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, an independent and external law firm, amid allegations of bribery which had helped to sway the bidding process for a succession of World Cups – particularly the successful bid of Qatar, with one witness saying a senior FIFA official took at least $1 million in bribes to vote for Qatar to host the 2022 contest. Qatar was recently hit by fresh allegations, over a supposed “secret deal” worth $100 million.

The alleged corruption was so pervasive within the organisation that KPMG was forced to launch an internal probe into its own Swiss arm, who had performed a series of major audits of FIFA, as a number of FIFA’s global partners did, in order to self-contain any potential implications in the scandal.

By tapping Vero, the Moroccan bid team have brought a firm on board with a considerable track record. The consultancy for instance helped Paris win the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, serving as the communications strategy lead, while it also was involved with several projects for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Saudi pharmacy chain Nahdi transforms with aid of two consultancies

11 April 2019

Saudi Arabia’s leading pharmacy retail chain Nahdi has undergone a recent transformation with the help of two consulting firms; Resilience& for a business process re-engineering project and Redbox Digital for an omnichannel commerce implementation.

With a vast network of outlets in 140-plus cities and villages across Saudi Arabia, the Jeddah-headquartered Nahdi Medical Company oversees the biggest retail pharmacy chain in the Kingdom – serving millions of customers every year. Stating a goal to remain at the forefront of innovation, Nahdi has recently undergone two transformation projects with the aid of consultancies Resilience& and Redbox Digital.

The former project, which commenced last year, has seen the team from management firm Resilience& partner with Nahdi’s Business Process Re-engineering leadership team to institute a more efficient and agile manner for serving its customers. For the strategic transformation, Resilience& among other activities assessed processes against best-practices and benchmarking tools and applied a performance review mechanism to aid with any future fine-tuning.

Founded in the UK in 2015 and with further branches in Egypt, the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Morocco and Greece, Resilience& describes itself as a network of consulting firms and independent experts – among them; UAE-based principal partner Ahmed Ragab, who has 15 years of cross-sector consulting experience across the Middle East – including a brief stint as a deputy director with Baker Tilly in Kuwait; and senior manager for digital transformations Tamer Montase, a former manager at Ernst & Young.Saudi pharmacy chain Nahdi transforms with aid of two consultanciesMeanwhile, Nahdi has also seen an UX overhaul with the implementation of a complete omnichannel commerce experience across its retail stores and digital channels delivered by global digital commerce and creative design consultancy Redbox Digital – a leading global elite Magento partner in the Middle East. According to the firm, Nahdi experienced its highest ever site traffic and best basket size and conversion rates in the week following the launch.

Built on Magento Commerce Cloud and Magento Order Management (while integrating Nahdi’s existing back-office Oracle systems), Nahdi’s head of omnichannel and former Accenture management consultant Pawel Dabrowski described the implementation as an amazing achievement given its size and complexity. “There were so many elements to consider from mobile application and single sign-on to loyalty programmes and single customer view,” Dabrowski said.

“Being able to bring all these together required knowledge, skill, understanding of the wider eco-system and more importantly team-work. There were challenges along the way, as with any large-scale implementation, but Redbox’s technical understanding, flexibility and ability to swiftly solve complex issues was behind the project’s huge success. They have a long history in the region and an excellent reputation for delivering high-performing omnichannel solutions.”

Founded in 2004, Redbox has a regional hub in Dubai (established in 2013 and serving clients in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar) with further operations in the UK, US, Italy Australasia, South Africa and Mauritius – the digital consultancy having since its inception built up an impressive roster of clients including Universal Music, Sephora, AXA, Nespresso, The Body Shop and Abul Latif Jameel, the parent of lean management specialists Four Principles.

Elsewhere in the regional healthcare sector, Four Principles itself recently celebrated a total supply chain and procurement processes lean transformation project for the Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Group – naming the company its inaugural Kaizen Awards’ winner – while specialist consultancy GE Healthcare Partners has just picked up its own award, being highly commended at the prestigious MCA awards in London for a transformation project in conjunction with the Dubai Health Authority.