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by Vault Consulting Editors | February 08, 2011


Every so often there's a day in which pertinent, readable consulting news is hard to come by. On these days, I like to dig deep. Occasionally in my wanderings I stumble upon a story so obscure and ridiculous that it simply must be heard. Today is one of those days.

Readers: I give you Penny Johnson of Surrey, England. Sky News in Britain reports today that Johnson, portrayed in court as "a formidable force in IT consulting sales," is seeking £54 million in damages from the plastic surgeon who botched her facelift and thereby destroyed her consulting business. Together with her husband, Johnson ran Bishop Cavanagh Ltd, a small IT consultancy; that firm went bankrupt in 2009, six years after the fateful surgery shattered Johnson's self-confidence and compromised her ability to meet with executives from potential client firms (Sky cites IBM among her former clients). Just how hideous were the results of the facelift? Sky News reports that Johnson was left with "a permanent involuntary twitch down the right side of her face, drooping around her mouth and a sagging eyelid that her children referred to as 'her monster eye'". (To be honest, I just think she looks a lot like Tina Fey now.) The surgeon, one Le Roux Fourie (really), has accepted responsibility for her deformation but denied culpability for the failure of the consulting firm. As absurd as this story is, it's actually quite sad. "I don't want to do anything anymore," said a tearful and medicated Johnson in court. "My husband has a separate life with my son which I am not involved in. I can't be a wife anymore." It also brings up some interesting questions regarding looks and appearance as far as client-facing consultants are concerned. Are good-looking novices given favor here? Are those with "monster eyes" cast aside?

Alas, all good stories must come to an end. In more typical consulting news, Gartner released its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2010 results today. The research consultancy says that it garnered 13 percent more revenue in 2010 than it did in 2009, a trend that appeared to be gaining momentum as evidenced by fourth quarter gains of 17 percent over the same quarter in 2009. Overall revenue was $1.3 billion in 2010; net income increased 16 percent to $96.3 million. Of the $1.3 billion revenue haul, the firm attributed roughly $300 million to consulting, a 6 percent increase from 2009. Gene Hall, Gartner CEO, summed up the gains. "We achieved record levels of new business and contract value, our client and wallet retention metrics improved for the fifth consecutive quarter, and many of our other key business metrics continued to accelerate during the fourth quarter," he said.

For more information:
Sky News: Surgeon Sued for £54 million Over Botched Facelift
Gartner posts double-digit revenue increase for Q4 and full-year


Filed Under: Consulting

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