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

25 May 2018 Consultancy-me.com 4 min. read

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.”