Top 25 Consultants, 2013: James Pajakowski

James Pajakowski James Pajakowski
Executive Vice President
Excellence in Leadership

James Pajakowski is an Executive Vice President with Protiviti and leads all of the firm’s solution offerings. Pajakowski was instrumental in the formation of Protiviti and has been a member of its governing executive team since the firm’s inception in 2002.

Over the last 12 months, however, he’s been busy with the “completion of two strategic acquisitions, the revamp of the firm’s executive leadership training program as well as its new hire training, the implementation of a revised three-year strategic plan; and the achievement of more than 15 percent growth in our core consulting service lines,” he says.

Meanwhile, over the past 10 years, Pajakowski has been a driver of the growth and success of Protiviti from a startup to an organization with 2,900 people generating some $453 million in revenues in 23 countries. Prior to Protiviti, he was a partner with Arthur Andersen, where he started his career in 1982.

Pajakowski says he is particularly proud of the stewardship responsibility he, and other leaders at Protiviti, have at the firm. “We formed Protiviti in the aftermath of Andersen. We all had a great deal of pride in Andersen and strong sense of stewardship. Obviously with how Andersen ended, it did not feel good,” he says. “With Protiviti, we all had a chance to start over together and build something special. Being part of it is something I will forever be grateful to be a participant in and forever motivated to build into a great and highly respected organization.”

Pajakowski oversees the delivery of Protiviti’s services in the areas of finance and transactions, operations, technology, litigation, governance, risk, and compliance. He previously served as managing director and head of the Business Risk practice.

“As many consultants can say, it is the ability to solve problems in a manner that brings people together to take collective action and embrace positive change,” he says. “So often, projects start with very diverse views, but it is rewarding to see everyone operating with a common purpose in the end.”

Winning the Top 25 award, he says, is great from a brand-building perspective for Protiviti who is “still a relatively new player” on the scene. “Our clients are very loyal to our firm, and I believe they likewise take pride in seeing our firm being recognized for our work.”

And for Pajakowski, the award is particularly gratifying because of the origin of his nomination. “It is very rewarding personally to have been nominated by our CEO who is my boss and a great friend and mentor,” he says.

Q&A: What’s the biggest factor to your success?

“A strong team and focus on developing others and supporting their success. I have always operated with a philosophy of working every day to make myself irrelevant. It has always served me well to operating in an environment with strong performers and high quality people.”