#1. Bill Nussey, 34
Chief Executive Officer/iXL, Inc.
Bill Nussey is what every traditional consultancy fears most: A venture capitalist turned consultant, who dreams of building the next great global consultancy.
“People thought I was crazy,” explains Nussey, who says he decided to leave VC firm Greylock when he saw how the Web had begun to mushroom opportunities in the consulting space.
“Traditionally, consultancies could carve out niche expertises, but the Internet demanded such a broad number of skills simultaneously. I saw this opportunity emerging to build a new breed of global [consultancy],” says Nussey, an engineer by training, who by the age of 28 had cofounded, built, and sold an e-mail software company. At Greylock, Nussey became involved in funding such technology upstarts as Northpoint, DoubleClick, and, of course iXL — the revenue leader of the fast-charging upstart clan known to Wall Street insiders as e-consulting pure plays.
Having already nabbed coveted Fortune 1000 accounts away from Big Five and even strategy consultancies, the question is no longer whether the pure plays are true consulting competitors, but whether they are now scalable, or capable of adding the talent and expertise they’ll need to compete globally.
Here, too, Nussey’s company, now approaching a half- billion dollars in sales, is emerging as the early leader. Having worked to integrate the systems and processes it needs to support greater head count across varied geographies, iXL earlier this year bagged what might be the largest e-strategy contract ever awarded — a deal inked last February with Virgin Atlantic that promises to bring in $50 million in e-business services revenue for iXL during its first year alone.
To win, iXL beat out a roster of e-consulting outfits that included high-flying Sapient Corp., whose stock recently traded at seven times iXL’s. Unlike those of other pure plays, iXL’s stock has never generated headlines, and neither has Nussey’s pay package. (While the former has recently been trading under $20 a share, the latter could be deemed competitive for the profession.)
iXL is today the aggregate of 36 different firms — 28 of which were acquired in 1998. However, Nussey now appears willing to part with this aggressive growth through acquisition strategy first hatched by Bert Ellis, iXL’s founder and consummate dealmaker. While it was Ellis who made the initial land grab, it’s Nussey who is now tasked with firing up the four-year-old consultancy’s organic growth engines, lowering employee turnover, and garnering the firm’s first profit.
Nussey’s success now depends on savvy portfolio management — a skill set well nurtured by his VC roots and amplified by iXL’s rich portfolio of large clients. Currently that portfolio includes such behemoths as General Electric Corp. and Delta Air Lines, each of which, besides owning a portion of the consultancy, has committed itself to buy a minimum amount of e-business services annually. In the case of GE, this IOU was valued at a minimum of $20 million its first year. But iXL’s large-account prowess doesn’t stop there. Home Depot, Federal Express, and Chase Manhattan are now among the building blocks of Nussey’s “next great global consultancy.”
“It’s not so much the number of people within the firm that matters, but the concentration of expertise and the kind of relationship that exists with clients,” explains Nussey, who likes to boast that in the last year, iXL has milked more e-business revenue out of the Fortune 1000 than any Big Five consultancy. While Nussey’s claim cannot be substantiated, it does draw forth one of the newly ratified dictums of the e-world: Size doesn’t matter.
It is just such decrees that are now opening a new chapter in consulting history, and that have put iXL’s CEO in the spotlight. The 34-year-old consultant, who could moonlight as an MTV veejay, sports a Scott McNealy smile and is fond of repeating the mantra “iXL rocks!” But few doubt this Harvard Business School grad, whose crowded resume lists a stint as a McKinsey consultant, means anything but business.
#2. David Pecaut, 44
Managing Director of E-Ventures/Boston Consulting Group
While most traditional consultancies are still working to move their offerings into the e-business space, analysts agree that Boston Consulting Group arrived there years ago. The credit largely belongs to David Pecaut, who established BCG’s e-commerce practice from his base in Toronto. Today, BCG’s management claims the e-commerce practice makes up 50 percent of the firm’s North American business and 40 percent of its global business.
“We made a very important decision in the beginning that we would not organize e-commerce as a silo practice,” says Pecaut, the former chairman of Canada Consulting Group, which merged with BCG in 1993. “Instead, it was an overlay on everything we do, and all our staff would have to be able to do e-commerce.”
BCG’s latest e-commerce engagement is building a travel site that is a joint venture among five airlines — United, Delta, Continental, Northwest, and American. As it did with Brandwise.com, a comparison-shopping Web site, BCG not only does the strategy work but also helps launch the business with its own consultants in roles of acting CEO and marketing and sales directors until the new business becomes operational. Regardless of whether the consultancy’s many ventures succeed or fail, Pecaut is now responsible for having built a critical connection with the community best able to enrich the knowledge BCG’s large-account customers now crave.
But that’s not all. Pecaut is now building BCG’s e-venturing business, which has the lofty goal of growing to the size of the firm’s consulting business. The e-venturing business will draw on opportunities identified by the consulting practice as well as by teams set to help launch the businesses.
“Unlike some of the consulting firms that have established venture funds at arm’s length from their consulting business, ours is going to be very closely tied to our ability to launch the new company,” says Pecaut, who comes from a family of stock brokers. “This is the first time in 35 years that BCG has established a second business, so it’s very important to us that it be successful,” explains the expectant father of BCG’s next generation.
#3. John Donahoe, 39
Worldwide Managing Partner/Bain & Company
Sometime last fall, John Donahoe remembers having a conversation that would help lay the groundwork for Bain’s single largest financial investment since the creation of Bain Capital more than 15 years earlier.
After a week of meetings with venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and top Internet executives such as E-Bay CEO Meg Whitman, Donahoe placed a call to Bain Chairman Orit Gadiesh, who had been meeting with a number of CEOs in Europe.
“What was fascinating is that the emerging point of view in both Silicon Valley and Europe was highly consistent, and this gave us the confidence to move aggressively and with a great deal of speed,” says Donahoe, recalling how the firm made the decision to become an equal partner in a venture with Kleiner Perkins, and the managing partners of Texas Pacific Group. The joint venture, known as eVolution, is today specifically focused on helping global companies build their e-businesses.
“Now we can go after the sweet spot, where incumbent global players can leverage their assets, their brands and their customer relationships, and combine their economies of scale,” explains Donahoe, who says the venture is innovative not only because of its focus, nor the partners involved, but because of the speed with which Bain helped conceive and establish it.
Now, as Bain consults with the top brass of global clients about the ways of the Web, Texas Pacific can help those clients realign their financial structures, while Kleiner Perkins and its portfolio of companies ties in the cutting edge technology.
For Donahoe, eVolution is but one of many Internet-related initiatives he has now helped nurture and evangelize throughout the firm’s hierarchy. As the firm continues to fatten its New Economy credentials, few doubt that another Internet investment cannot be far away.
#4. Geoff Unwin, 57
Chief Executive Officer/Cap Gemini Ernst & Young
One way or another, Cap Gemini Group was going to get its global house in order, particularly in the United States, where its geographic presence lagged far behind the industry’s consulting leaders. Geoff Unwin solved the Paris-based firm’s problem earlier this year by spearheading the acquisition of Ernst & Young’s consulting services.
“The Ernst & Young consulting [acquisition] is an extremely bold move in my view, and an extremely complicated move,” says Unwin, who quickly offers credit to an acquisition team comprised of executives from both companies. “(This deal) was one in which the prize was definitely worth fighting for, because I think it will radically change the nature of the company.”
Unwin may be understating the deal’s impact. By having a Big Five consulting organization marry a global outsourcer, many believe the Cap deal finally turns consulting into a truly global contest. No one, perhaps, is more responsible for the historic nuptials than Unwin, a British executive who is today credited with having played a critical role in unifying the professional services giant in the wake of more than 50 different acquisitions.
Unwin was the former executive chairman of the Hoskyns Group PLC, a U.K.-based computer services company. When Hoskyns was acquired by Cap Gemini in 1990, Unwin became the company’s vice chairman.
Under Unwin’s leadership, Cap Gemini has emerged as a technology powerhouse in Europe — a fact underscored by having recently hatched alliances with a string of tech companies including Cisco Systems, Oracle Corp., and Nokia Networks.
The E&Y deal gives Cap Gemini, which will now have a strong foothold in both the U.S. and Europe, a multicultural advantage over its U.S-based competitors — even those with offices abroad.
“There are a number of companies which, quite frankly, have a monocultural view of the world. It has its advantages; it’s very useful if you’re selling consumer products. But in a people-based business, I’m not sure that’s the best route to pursue,” says Unwin. “We can absolutely encourage the best from any nationality and any culture. We are extremely strong with that. That’s why it’s a French company and you’ve got a Brit as the CEO.”
#5. Mary Tolan, 39
Managing Partner, Growth & Strategy/Andersen Consulting
It was to be one of Andersen Consulting’s most memorable partner meetings in years. Only weeks after the global firm’s CEO, George Shaheen, made an abrupt exit to head on-line grocer WebVan, Andersen’s minions were coming together at an annual worldwide gathering to officially ordain and welcome its new CEO, Joe Forehand.
Prior to Shaheen’s hasty exit, Mary Tolan thought she would not likely be attending, given the meeting was scheduled to fall within days of the due date of her second child. It was in between these goings and comings that the name of Joe Forehand had first surfaced publicly as a possible Shaheen successor, and it was at that point Tolan had little doubt that, with a little cooperation from Mother Nature, she’d soon be breaking bread with her partners once more.
Forehand was an early mentor of Tolan, and had long ago earned a reputation as an innovator who was willing to take chances on young leaders. In the past, he had a taken a chance on Tolan, when he had asked her to head up Andersen’s North American retail sector. At the time, Tolan was earning major kudos for having established an innovative gain-sharing contract with Sears Canada.
The success Tolan would enjoy as head of the retail sector magnified her stature within the firm, and now that her one-time mentor appeared to have a lock on the firm’s CEO position, she knew good things would come from this familiar and “approachable” leader.
Forehand didn’t waste any time. At the October partner meeting less than two weeks after Tolan gave birth to a second daughter, Forehand tapped her to be the firm’s chief strategist — the one consultant many now hold responsible for re-energizing the growth of the industry’s largest global consultancy.
“One of the things we actually compromised on is that I felt a strategist’s role devoid of operations would become stale very quickly. So, I wanted to hang on to my retail operating responsibility, and I could use that as a laboratory and study the economics, allowing me to extrapolate for the firm at large,” explains Tolan, who today wears the managing partner title for both retail and strategy.
Given the demands of the job, Tolan says she counts on a younger sister — one of six siblings — to help on the home front. “When a mother knows kids are not just safe, but also in a loving environment, it takes so much off your mind,” confides Tolan, who credits her success to the bonds of family and mentorship.
#6. Jerry Greenberg, 34
Co-chairman and Co-CEO/Sapient Corp.
When Sapient was named to the Standard & Poor’s 500 index last month, e-consultancies around the world gave out a spirited cheer, indicating the firm’s recognition was part of a bigger story — one that exposes the growing ambition of all e-consultancies.
For Jerry Greenberg, Sapient’s S&P coup was just another chapter in the annals of a consulting pioneer. “We are the only company from prior to the Internet world to be the leader in the new world, because we ‘got it’ first,” Greenberg says. “We have already gone through a transformation of the fundamental strategy curve that either the new guard didn’t make or the old guard didn’t even know about.” While Sapient is clearly not alone, certain rivals are finding it hard to eschew Greenberg’s words.
Where will Sapient’s pioneering co-CEO turn next? Analysts tell us that Greenberg is pushing hard on both the wireless and broadband fronts.
#7. Rudy Puryear, 49
President and CEO/Lante
His leap last year from Andersen Consulting to e-consultancy Lante instantly made him the profession’s best-known poster child in the struggle to retain talent in the dot-com world.
But Rudy Puryear, who served as Andersen’s top e-commerce partner, may have gained even greater notoriety earlier this year, when his pay package ballooned to $187 million following Lante’s initial public offering. While there’s no telling how many consultants may have begun re-evaluating career paths after Puryear’s Big Five exit, the impact of his move was felt most at Lante, where a little-known consultancy with several prior lives suddenly had a leader able to articulate a vision and execute it.
In the coming year, Big Five managers will likely be looking to borrow a page from Lante’s CEO as he seeks to establish the firm as an electronics markets specialist — a connector of electronics buyers and sellers.
#8. Scott Hartz, 51
Global Managing Partner/PricewaterhouseCoopers
In the wake of one of the profession’s most complex mergers to date, the $7 billion consulting services arm of PricewaterhouseCoopers experienced a year of sluggish sales. Or at least that’s what certain analysts anticipated. The fact is that PwC’s consulting arm grew by 24 percent in 1999, nearly 18 percent more than Andersen Consulting, its most ardent rival. So, what gives? As evidence mounts, all clues point to Scott Hartz, the firm’s devoted leader, who — in addition to being a savvy merger manager — is credited with driving a massive globalization of the firm.
We are told that the faster the rate of change, the more leadership emerges — at least on the winning side. As PwC consulting prepares to forfeit its PwC handle and split off from its parent company to escape mounting regulatory scrutiny, there’s little doubt that Hartz will be on the rise once more.
#9. Orit Gadiesh
Chairman/Bain & Company
Twenty-three years after joining Bain & Company, Orit Gadiesh can’t help but deride the business world’s latest fetish.
A plethora of self-proclaimed e-strategists have been busy romancing the captains of industry as they continue to uncork yet-unseen revenue streams. But Gadiesh and her Bainies are not impressed.
“There is a feeling now in the market, as we speak to different CEOs, that certain companies could be headed in the wrong direction,” explains Gadiesh, who reports that those same CEOs are increasingly looking to return to strategy fundamentals. Gadiesh foresees a shift toward integrated strategy solutions, where New Economy capabilities are but a single component of a firm’s strategy offerings. It’s a vision she says will be realized as industry’s latest courtship becomes nothing more than a May-December romance.
For some, Gadiesh’s words may appear to be a declaration of war, and, given her passion for the profession, there is little doubt the upstart e-insurgents are about to meet their match.
#10. Rajat Gupta, 51
Managing Director/McKinsey & Co.
While McKinsey & Co. over the last year has suffered record casualties inside the war for talent, the firm’s top partner, Rajat Gupta, may take some satisfaction in the fact that it has been on his watch that the firm has parted with some of its time-honored but more anachronistic principles.
This is no small feat, considering how the 74-year-old firm has long prided itself on the founding principles laid down by its chief architect, Marvin Bower. With very little exception, they continue to guide the firm to this day. For his part, Gupta is said to have acquired a diplomat’s gift with words as he conjures up the backing and confidence of McKinsey’s notoriously independent-thinking partners.
McKinsey’s leader now appears to be adroitly amplifying the firm’s deep industry sector knowledge as well as its global proportions — two ingredients many pundits agree could prove to be the Achilles heel of the profession’s fleet-footed e-consultancies.
“Clients really need to understand how the various industries work, how they can be disaggregated, what the fundamental economics are, and how can they be structured,” explains Gupta, describing an area where few dot-com consultancies have yet dared to dwell.
#11. Joe Forehand, 51
Managing Partner/Andersen Consulting
When it came time for Joe Forehand to discuss 1999′s “bad news,” he didn’t hesitate to point out how Andersen’s growth contraction began sometime after midyear, or in the period just prior to his predecessor’s hasty October departure.
It was within that period of time that Andersen’s global leadership likely realized the extremes to which the consultancy would have to change in order to flourish inside the new world of e-business. Six months later, change has now become Andersen’s business, and its new leader is reveling in it.
Whether he is discussing a new joint venture with Microsoft Corp., the pledge to induct 2,000 new partners, or the firm’s new venture fund and incubator, Forehand is on the front line in quashing pessimism, glad-handing new recruits, and zeroing in on growth opportunities. Known for his open and approachable nature, many now believe that Forehand has what Andersen previously lacked – a leader who can feel at home in the New Economy’s very open, network-based set of cultures.
#12. George Stalk, 49
Senior Vice President/Boston Consulting Group
Ask anyone at BCG to make a list of partners they admire and chances are that George Stalk is on the short list. After 20 years with the blue-chip consultancy, Stalk is recognized as one of the profession’s most versatile gurus. He is BCG’s own Obi Wan Kenobi — complete with visions of the future and sermons exploring the business world’s unpredictable forces.
It’s this unique persona that has allowed Stalk to remain relevant in the digital age and it’s that which continues to be a true magnet for young talent.
“One of the things we always try to do is keep the firm doing things in a way that keeps the upcoming generation from feeling disenfranchised — we’ve been called intergenerational. Now, we don’t have a perfect record, but I think we’ve done a very good job,” says Stalk, who spent five years of his career in Japan, where he helped the firm harness the rudiments of time-based competition.
These days, Stalk is more of an organizational specialist, whose concerns are largely tied to the firm’s own talent resources.
“We’re hoping that the intellectual and cultural ties to a larger organization that can present a variety of different opportunities in the e-commerce space will prove to be tighter bonding for our new recruits,” explains the BCG senior vice president. Whether it’s dot-com spinoffs or the rewards of equity-sharing, BCG wins when it lets Stalk apply the glue.
#13. Mel Bergstein, 58
Chairman and CEO/Diamond Technology Partners
Six years after it was first established, and three years after it sold shares to the public, Diamond Technology Partners may be holding the road map to the profession’s future.
It lays out a course carefully charted by the consultancy’s chairman and CEO, Mel Bergstein — one that every Big Five consultancy is now studying closely, as increasing scrutiny from the SEC and a groundswell of upstart e-business rivals force the Big Five to reject their present organizational and cultural models.
But how do you sell shares to the public and still hold on to the partnership culture consultants thrive on? Just borrow a page from Bergstein and DTP, where day-to-day operations are delegated to a management committee, and committee members answer to the firm’s partners.
“The firms that won’t survive are the ones where there is too much ownership on top and where the governance processes are not sophisticated enough to facilitate sharing, and don’t involve the partners enough,” says Bergstein — offering an insightful inset from his own coveted road map.
#14. Kathleen L. Biro, 47
President and Vice Chairman/Digitas
Kathy Biro first began working in electronic markets 20 years ago, when Chase Manhattan enlisted her to help with their early home banking initiatives. Twelve years later, before the first of the e-consultancies dazzled Wall Street with their visions of the future, Biro convinced the senior management of consulting firm Bronner Slosberg Humphrey to spin off its Internet consulting offerings into a standalone business.
Last year, the Boston-based spinoff swallowed its parent company. The firm, today known as Digitas, employs 1,400 people and boasts a host of blue-chip clients such as American Express and General Motors. And, just in case a client requires a consulting pedigree, Digitas today counts Bain & Co.’s chairman, Orit Gadiesh, among its directors. So, just what is Biro up to today? No doubt something others will discover in the future.
#15. Stephen Sprinkle, 48
Global Director of Strategy, Innovation, and Eminence/Deloitte Consulting
As part of an overall firm reorganization, Deloitte Consulting recently bestowed a new title on Stephen Sprinkle. It’s a title that can’t help but draw attention, given that the word “eminence” is tacked on its end.
As Deloitte’s new global director of strategy, innovation, and eminence, Sprinkle today oversees more than five service lines and is responsible for the firm’s strategy and innovation. The word eminence is just an accent, perhaps, to better underscore the rank of the firm’s new chief strategist.
Sprinkle’s new job now is to define the future of the consulting entity, foster innovation, oversee the development of intellectual content, and gain market recognition. “The change in job title requires me to make more predictions, take more risks, and be even more intuitive,” Sprinkle explains. Given Deloitte’s recent flurry of strategic initiatives — from its venture funding to its e-spinoffs — His Eminence may be on the right path.
#16. Jim Wadia, 52
Worldwide Managing Partner/Arthur Andersen
What makes Jim Wadia unique inside the upper ranks of Big Five management is everything he’s not. He’s not an American, and he’s not an accountant.
Wadia was born in Bombay and educated in Switzerland, and calls England home. He is the first non-accountant to run the firm, having come up through the tax side, but he has done much to build up AA’s consulting practice, which now includes about 10,000 management consultants. Still, the AA leader may score his greatest coup later this summer, when an international arbitrator decrees the divorce settlement between AA and Andersen Consulting. Few are betting against Wadia and AA.
#17. Bob Gett, 49
President and CEO/Viant Corp.
To hear Bob Gett tell it, all a consultant needs to know, really, is what he learned in kindergarten.
“People need to be rewarded based on how much they share, how much they mentor, and how much they replicate themselves, as opposed to the expertise they’ve accumulated,” says Gett, who has emerged as one of the profession’s foremost voices of cultural reform.
More than any other consulting leader, Viant’s top consultant today articulates the values of consulting’s X generation — theirs is a network-based set of cultures free of the lethargic dictums of hierarchical organizations. Today, Gett modestly views the launching of a cultural revolution as a mere by-product of his efforts to turn Viant into an e-consulting powerhouse.
#18. Karen Riley, 46
VP, Global Services/Siebel Systems
Back in 1995, when Karen Riley was a services executive with IBM Corp., she spearheaded the acquisition of a small company that pioneered technology solutions inside a space that’s today known as customer relationship management.
The acquisition placed her career within a consulting crosswind fueled by the rise of CRM and the subsequent decline in enterprise resource planning projects. As more companies became turned on to outward-facing technologies, Riley gladly left behind a 20-year career with IBM to help build the consulting and services arm of the CRM arena’s largest vendor, Siebel Systems.
It’s a challenge Riley appears uniquely qualified to meet. Today, Siebel’s global services VP counts among her personal mentors Dennie Welsh, the person widely credited with helping IBM realize its global services vision in the early 1990s.
“Dennie was capable of starting up something, but also scaling it up and taking it to the next level, and that experience I have found extremely valuable,” says Riley. According to Riley watchers, Welsh should be most proud.
#19. Bob Howe, 55
Chairman & CEO/Scient Corp.
It’s been a little more than a year since e-consultancy Scient Corp. sold shares to the public, allowing its CEO’s stake to mushroom to more than $175 million inside of 30 days. The fact that Bob Howe joined Scient from IBM only a year earlier became food for thought for an untold number of consulting executives who still resided within the ranks of traditional consultancies. In subsequent months, Andersen Consulting CEO George Shaheen would leave for on-line grocer WebVan, while Andersen’s top e-consultant, Rudy Puryear, would embark to head up Lante Corp.
While Howe’s career windfall seemed to underscore that “time is of the essence,” so too did the firm’s consulting offerings as they shook up Andersen and McKinsey alike, and helped force the profession to make speed-to-market one of its core values. Meanwhile, Howe’s stake — a sum recently valued near $519 million — will vest in three years’ time. Tick tock, tick tock.
#20. Edward J. Sanderson, Jr., 51
Executive Vice President/Oracle Corp.
Oracle Corp. had 4,000 consultants in 1995, when “Sandy” Sanderson was chosen to head up the company’s consulting practice. Nine thousand consultants later, Sanderson is managing a consulting workforce that continues to boast strong revenue and double-digit profits. While most ERP vendors are struggling to keep their footing, Sanderson is credited with having helped Oracle successfully navigate the winding path from purveyor of ERP goods to e-solutions.
Perhaps he has been a little too successful. In the past, turf wars have not been uncommon among Oracle and its consulting partners. As a result, Sanderson says Oracle has grown more sensitive to the competitive concerns of its partners, and is consciously curbing the dietary habits of its consulting practice. Meanwhile, other new business technologies might soon open doors to small- and medium-size clients. One thing is certain: Few doors stay closed when Sanderson is doing the knocking.
#21. Randolph C. Blazer, 49
President and CEO/KPMG Consulting
Whether due to unyielding regulatory pressures or a growing appetite for capital resources, KPMG Consulting is now blazing a path where other Big Five consultancies are likely soon to follow. And it is for this reason that the consultancy’s entry into the waters of public ownership has become one of the profession’s most talked about transactions in years.
No one person is doing more of the talking than KPMG CEO Randolph Blazer, a former U.S. Army captain who joined the firm’s Washington, DC, office back in 1977. Blazer was named co-CEO along with KPMG veteran Rod McGeary in 1997, and together they navigated the windy path from partnership to incorporation.
When McGeary opted out earlier this year, Blazer took the CEO title solo — and began to draw the growing interest of the firm’s Big Five rivals.
#22. Reginald Van Lee, 42
Vice President, Managing Partner-in-Charge of New York office, Board Member/Booz-Allen & Hamilton
Ask Reginald Van Lee what’s lacking inside the world of traditional consulting, and he’ll likely mention a sensitivity to cultural and behavioral issues.
Too often, consultants fail to garner the experience they need to deal with challenges remote to the boardrooms of publicly held firms, he explains. As the managing partner-in-charge of Booz’s New York office, Van Lee has sought to keep socio-economic issues at the forefront of his workload, and nowhere are they in greater abundance than inside the firm’s ongoing pro bono work. While Van Lee takes on about three pro bono engagements a year, he currently sits on 11 nonprofit-organization boards.
“If you can figure out how to get a nonprofit to do something differently than the way they did it for 50 years, it can only make you more compelling and convincing as you deal with CEOs,” he confides. Given the hours most consultants spend looking to reap greater profits for their clients, Van Lee’s view is one the profession could stand to profit from.
#23. Adrian J. Slywotsky, 49
Vice President and Board Member/Mercer Management Consulting
Adrian Slywotzky has arguably put more words into the mouths of consultants than any other human being. Or make that two words.
Since coining the term “value creation” in his 1996 book Value Migration, Slywotsky has helped Mercer Management Consulting, as well as the rest of the consulting profession, become enamored with the idea of growing value for customers instead of just revenues and profits.
Even the best, low-cost, efficient brand, with the best marketing, can be a marketplace failure, explains Slywotzky, who continues to urge consultants to prod their clients by asking, “Where is the value going?”
Other popular texts coauthored by Slywotzky — The Profit Zone (1998) and Profit Patterns (1999) — are today credited with helping the profession retool its clients’ thinking by encouraging companies to look outward and develop a more customer-centric approach to running their businesses. Before you put words in the mouths of others, you had better put ideas in their heads — or so Slywotzky has taught us.
#24. Cathy Benko, 41
Partner, Global E-business Practice Leader/Deloitte Consulting
“Mother ship” has greater meaning for Deloitte’s Cathy Benko these days. Last month, when a clan of Deloitte veterans joined a newly formed CRM consulting company, industry insiders couldn’t help but ponder the magnitude of Deloitte’s loss. But the consultants were not leaving the firm; instead, they were part of a strategic deployment referred to by Deloitte’s consulting army as Mother Ship Pod.
Back on board “the mother ship” is Benko, commander-in-chief of the complex global deployment that will involve infusing hundreds or possibly thousands of veteran Deloitte consultants into “pods” — fledgling e-business joint ventures that remain unfettered by the consultancy’s historical origins. As the battle for e-marketshare escalates globally, most agree that Benko has already helped launch a cultural revolution at home.
#25. Tony Tjan, 29
Cofounder and Executive Vice President/Zefer
Anthony Tjan is the business student who taught an entire profession a lesson. While attending Harvard Business School in 1998, Tjan not only wrote an e-consultancy business plan, but got $2 million worth of funding to boot.
In 1999, he obtained another $100 million from GTCR Golder Rauner, a sum that ranked among the largest private investments in an Internet firm to date. Having pulled the plug on an attempt to go public this April, his 600-member consultancy, known as Zefer, is now scouting for the right window of opportunity.
Whether Zefer strikes IPO gold or not, Tjan’s business plan reminded traditional consultancies why they should fear most what they cannot yet see.