At a Glance
"Freedom to operate without too many restrictive boundaries"
"Opportunities to grow"
"Lack of investment in knowledge management"
"The politics and the time it takes to get a senior decision"
"No particular name or strong reputation"
About Celerant Consulting Europe
A European and North American affair
Created in 1987 under the name Peter Chadwick, Celerant Consulting, as it is known today, is a global firm helping clients in 38 countries with asset management, business performance, supply chain and revenue growth, amongst other things. The UK-based consultancy has helped some of the world’s top companies, including BT, Fujitsu, BP, Texas Petrochemicals, ICI, Pace, Premier Oil and Saab. Although the UK is the firm’s largest market, it also has offices throughout Europe in the Benelux and Nordic regions, in addition to Germany, France, Canada and the US.
The many faces of Celerant
Founded by Quentin Baer and Ian Clarkson, Peter Chadwick was a combination of the two men’s middle names. From the outset, the company did well, growing an average 50 per cent a year within its first five years, and after 10 years in business, was already an international player with offices throughout Europe and North America. A merger in 1997 with Cambridge Technology Partners introduced the firm to the world of technology-based business solutions and led it to change its name to Cambridge Management Consulting. This name lasted a mere four years, however, as the consultancy was acquired by software specialist Novell in July 2001 for $266 million, and changed its name again to Celerant Consulting.
But like all good things, the partnership came to an end within five years after Novell, suffering from lagging sales, decided to cut costs, which meant getting rid of its consulting arm. In May 2006, Celerant, along with its 539 employees were sold back to the consultancy’s management for $77 million. The deal was also supported by British Investment firm Caledonia Investments, which put in $30 million for a minority stake in the new company. Three years later, the private company specialises in helping companies across a broad section of industries, including chemicals, CPG/FMCG, energy, financial services, government, life sciences, manufacturing, private equity, telecoms and utilities.
Close for comfort
Celerant really takes a hands-on approach when it comes to consulting, observing how a company and its employees work on a day-to-day basis. Once areas that can be improved upon have been uncovered, the consultancy works jointly with the client and its employees to come up with a system of operational change and, as the firm says, “winning the hearts and minds of people who are often frustrated and disengaged” in the process. Celerant calls this technique Closeworka, and claims the approach is successful with 94 per cent of its clients, 90 per cent who come back for more.
THE LATEST ON CELERANT
Middle East expansion
Celerant opened a new office in Abu Dhabi, expanding its global network to 12 locations. According to the firm, the decision to press ahead with the opening despite the ongoing recession was essential as the Celerant partnership model necessitates having a presence close to clients. Given that the firm has several "significant relationships" with leading firms and organizations in the region, opening an office there was essential to being able to meet their needs.
Going high tech
As part of a strategy to strengthen its telecoms and high-tech practice, Celerant acquired Swedish-based Fidens Partners. With offices in both Malma and London, Fiden Partners is a small firm focusing on performance improvements and corporate transformation in high-tech and telecoms companies, and brings with it three founding partners with strong track records in leading companies, including Ericsson and Sony Ericsson, amongst others.
Private equity worries
Like all good consultancies, Celerant releases reports from time to time, which also guarantee it some form of free advertising in the press. In the latest research to be commissioned by the firm, 220 senior private equity executives across Europe and the United States were surveyed on their opinions of the current economic climate. All in all, there was a fairly encouraging response, with 53 per cent of execs believing things will be back to normal within 18 months. However, one thing the survey did reveal was the variation of response depending on where the respondent was based. British executives seem to hold a more pessimistic view, with just 36 per cent believing 18 months will do the trick. This is compared to 71 per cent of “optimistic” French executives, whose economy seems to be weathering the economic fallout better than their old friends’ across the Channel.
Celerant’s senior European management team underwent something of a shakeup in the first half of 2008, with two company veterans taking over key managerial positions. In June, then-COO Danny Van D’huynslager was appointed president of European operations, and will focus on growing Celerant’s revenue in Europe and increasing its client base.
In April, Dereck Clow was named UK Head of Country, with responsibility for making the firm’s profitable during the economic downturn in its largest market. Clow who has worked with the company for 15 years, was previously vice president of operations working across the telecommunications, utilities, manufacturing, chemical and pharmaceutical sectors in the UK and Europe. Before joining Celerant, Clow worked in managerial positions at Heinz, Unigate and BOC Healthcare.
Also in April, the Belgian operation saw new leadership in the form of Jacques Heynen, who formerly stood as executive vice president of Belgacom, Belguium’s largest telecoms business.
72 Lower Mortlake Road
Richmond TW9 2JY
Phone: 44 20 8338 5000
Employer Type: Private
CEO: Ian Clarkson
2008 Employees (All Locations): 600