A.T. Kearney boss Alex Liu says firm expects ongoing Middle East growth

25 May 2018 Consultancy-me.com

Following its recent establishment of a National Transformations Institute in Dubai to serve the greater Middle East, global A.T. Kearney boss Alex Liu has said that the firm will be looking to further extend its operations in the region.

As the globe’s big consulting players continue to jostle for space in the rapidly developing Middle East market, Alex Liu, the recently installed Managing Partner of one of the world’s preeminent management firms A.T. Kearney, has said in an interview that the firm will be seeking ongoing growth in the region – with acquisitions or partnerships potentially on the table.

“It [the Middle East region] is one of our fastest growing regions in terms of revenues, in terms of people and in terms of breadth and quality of our client relationships,” Liu told the The National, a UAE-based publication, “I see no reason why we can’t continue to be growing at a very fast rate."

Elected as the firm’s global Managing Partner and Chairman last month, and set to succeed outgoing Dutchman Johan Aurik shortly, Liu has previously stated that A.T. Kearney “will be taking even bolder steps as we compete aggressively in today’s dynamic marketplace. We like being the challengers in the industry and will blaze an exciting path to reshape management consulting.”

The firm’s bold endeavour to reshape management consulting comes at a time when the Middle East is undergoing a profound metamorphosis itself, courtesy of a series of ambitious social and economic national transformation programmes such as the Vision 2030 and Vision 2021 projects of Saudi Arabia and the UAE  – prompting the Global Business Policy Council, an international A.T. Kearney strategic think-tank, to recently launch a regional National Transformations Institute based in Dubai.Alex Liu, Managing Partner AT Kearney

“The Middle East is one of the most rapidly and deeply transforming regions in the world. We are seeing governments courageously committed to driving historic change with unprecedented speed for the benefit of future generations,” the institute’s leader Rudolph Lohmeyer said on its launch, warning of the gravity for local governments and organisations. “This is a finite window with a time limit. The choices made now will really extend influence even more than they usually would into the long term.”

The pressing nature of the transitions in the region (sparked in response to the dive in global oil prices with little expectation now of a serious recovery), along with the sheer monetary value of the work on offer, has also seen an array of consulting firms scramble to increase their local presence in an effort to capitalise on the unprecedented opportunities – such as with recent reports suggesting the Saudi government would move to consolidate its consulting channels into colossal singular contracts.

For A.T. Kearney (which itself has been reported to have been assisting the Mubadala Investment Company – the world’s 14th largest wealth fund with $125 billion in managed assets – to assess its post-merger portfolio), the competition for space in the Middle East market has been part of a longer-term ambition – with the firm operational in the region since 1972 and having since established primary offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Riyadh, as well as its most recent expansion to Doha at the end of 2014.

“We have typically invested ahead of demand in the market place so we have been here in the Middle East for quite some time,” Liu said. “I have a long-term bullish view of this market. We will continue to implement business plans that are consistent with that view point.” When pressed further on the approach and potential for acquisitions, the Managing Partner added; “I would say yes if there is a pocket of capability that makes sense… sometimes we may not have all the capabilities so you either build it organically, or you acquire or partner with people to provide it.”

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Local consultancy Impact Research helps to assess relief efforts in Yemen

18 April 2019 Consultancy-me.com

Newly incorporated Yemeni consultancy Impact Research has been working with UN agencies and international NGOs to evaluate local crisis and recovery efforts.

Now into its fifth year, the worsening civil conflict in Yemen has taken the lives of over 60,000 citizens and brought wide-spread devastation to what was already the poorest county in the region, with millions suffering from its effects. According to UN reports, four fifths of the Yemeni population – some 24 million people – are in need of humanitarian or protection assistance, with more than half of those in acute need and threatened by famine.

A number of UN agencies and international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) including the UNDP, World Food Programme, Oxfam, and World Bank among others have been acting to bring relief through a variety of local humanitarian projects, such as the three-year joint UNDP-World Bank Yemen Emergency Crisis Response Project (YECRP) which through a grant of $300 million seeks to assist recovery from the bottom up by restoring livelihood opportunities.

The reasoning behind the approach is that by increasing income-generation opportunities for the some 80 percent of the Yemeni population currently unemployed, individual households will be strengthened and then more capable of assisting and contributing to their communities – ultimately bringing the country closer to peace. To date, over half a million people have directly benefited from the YECRP project, through both short-term job creation and training initiatives.Impact Research helping to assess humanitarian relief efforts in YemenUnprecedented as a humanitarian disaster, the urgency and scale of the project (over 3 million people have also gained access to basic services such as water and health through YECRP) and other relief efforts by their nature requires somewhat of an as-you-go approach, with the need for constant assessment to measure the impact and effectiveness of the implementations and identify areas for potential improvements. One firm helping with such analyses is Impact Research.

Incorporated this year, the Sanaʽa-based firm is staffed by a team of professional consultants and researchers who aim to become the leading consultancy in Yemen – serving both the private and public sector with a comprehensive range of provisions in advisory, research and analysis, monitoring and evaluation, project management design, planning, and implementation, and capacity-building and training, blending global best practice with deep local insight.

So far the firm’s clients include among others Oxfam, the International Labor Organization, German development agency GIZ and the UNDP, with Impact Research providing in-the-field research, assessments, reporting, monitoring and evaluations to gauge the performance and effectiveness of various relief projects, aiming to gain greater knowledge along the way to help improve future practices and interventions while disseminating that knowledge in turn.

“We have learned that impact in Yemen is not as intuitive as one thinks,” the firm states. “The complexity of the situation makes small efforts full of impact, while much money can create very negative and unintended consequences.” It adds, spiritedly; “The Yemen crisis has opened new opportunities for the Yemeni people as much as it has closed many. The catastrophe has pushed all of us to see the light in the dark, and to identify the opportunities between the ashes.”

Related: BCG partners with the WFP on refugee food security innovations in Jordan.