AT Kearney feasts its eyes on $1 billion pie

The global management consultancy firm joins forces with UAE-based Executive Consultants to enter the Middle East market and add a new player to the competition.

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By  John Irish Published  January 26, 2003

AT Kearney, a global management consultancy has entered the Middle East market and is looking to make an impact on the regional management consultancy pie, after a strategic alliance with Executive Consultants, a UAE-based corporate finance advisory firm.

“The Middle East is undergoing a major transformation spearheaded by a few dynamic countries that are undertaking ambitious new projects,” said Ulvi Sami, vice president, Turkey & Middle East, A.T. Kearney.

With global management consultants finding it increasingly difficult to break into new markets, this agreement will allow AT Kearney to position itself in the region, enabling it to compete with more established competitors in the Middle East, such as McKinsey.

For Executive Consultants, the relationship is seen as a natural progression. Its experience in the financial domain and knowledge of the Gulf region means that it possesses a contact book that has confidence in its abilities.

“Although, not out of design, we have been pulled into a number of management consultant jobs over the last two years. We’ve sort of been management consultants and financial advisors to Tejari for almost two years.” said Sameer Al Ansari, president and CEO of Executive Consultants.

The market in the Gulf is open for business. Real estate projects seem to be never-ending, with contracts announced almost at every street corner. But for how long can this carry on? Banks are overstretched and other sectors such as manufacturing are finding it harder to attract investment. This makes it imperative for firms to develop, reorganise and restructure their operations.

Al Ansari looks at things pragmatically, “The whole concept of high management and senior level consulting is also changing. It’s a very tough market. People don’t really understand or appreciate consulting in this region. At the moment, there are only a few players.

“The market is big enough. Our estimate is that it is well over $1 billion annually. Even if you took out the IT portion, the pie is still big enough for 3, 4 or 5 players to compete, and so far AT Kearney has not really tried to compete and take a piece of that pie,” adds Al Ansari

It now remains to be seen whether the profile, experience and expertise of AT Kearney, coupled with the local know-how and self-belief of Executive Consultants, will be able to eat into that billion-dollar pie.

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