It's not too often that you find a €700m-revenue-plus channel partner that is wholly owned and run by its management team. Look at Europe's largest resellers, systems integrators and MSPs, and you'll notice a general theme that most are either backed by enormous private equity and venture capital investors or else listed on one of Europe's main stock exchanges, be it LSE, Euronext or Deutsche Bôrse.
But BearingPoint is a proud exception, according to its newly installed managing partner Kiumars Hamidian.
The BearingPoint brand came into being in 2002 through a mash-up between the consulting arms of ancient accountancy firm Arthur Andersen and KPMG. The company - then called KPMG Consulting - floated on the NASDAQ exchange in 2001 and then the New York Stock Exchange the following year.
What followed were seven years of financial turmoil which culminated in BearingPoint's US arm filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009.
The BearingPoint of today is the result of a management buyout from its European leaders, which saw the newly independent firm move its headquarters to Amsterdam and make a fresh start.
Today the Dutch firm is wholly owned by a group of 170 partners. It's present in 22 countries worldwide, with revenues topping €712m (£627m) in 2017, a 13 per cent increase on the previous year.
Hamidian (pictured) took the helm of the company as managing partner last month, after he was voted in earlier this year to succeed Peter Mockler, who has led the firm since its very foundation in 2009.
Speaking to Channelnomics Europe, Hamidian expanded on why securing an MBO in 2009 is, even to this day, one of BearingPoint's key advantages over the competition, which includes consultancy's "big four" (PwC, KPMG, Ernst & Young and Deloitte) as well as IT giants such as Accenture and IBM.
"We are very proud of it. We came from a corporate New York Stock Exchange set-up to 100 per cent ownership. Where is the advantage? We can fully focus on our clients, we can stick to our promises, we don't have to fulfil and make the stock exchange happy. It is really about creating value for our people, our clients and for our society. Generally speaking, I feel like we have much more freedom, much more long-term planning and we can really focus on the long-term execution of our strategy," he said.
The long-term strategy Hamidian is referring to is BearingPoint's goal of hitting €1bn revenues by 2020.
Hamidian responded to the notion that adding just shy of €300m to its top line in just over two years is a little on the ambitious side by drawing attention to the rate of BearingPoint's growth since it became independent.
He said that the firm has almost doubled in size since the MBO in 2009 and has expanded into eight new territories: China, the Czech Republic, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, UAE and the US.
And further expansion is likely on the cards for Hamidian, who claims that the UK - which is a relatively under-served market for BearingPoint - is a key target for further expansion.
BearingPoint is a dominant entity in Germany and the wider DACH region, but currently has only 350 staff in the UK and Ireland, out of a total 4,343 group-wide. For Hamidian, there's definitely potential to grow the firm's consultancy presence, particularly in the banking and insurance markets.
"Right now for us the UK market is extremely interesting. The banking and insurance markets are our strongest industries outside the UK, especially in Germany, France and Switzerland," he said.
"There's a lot of knowledge, capacity and capabilities we want to use to organically but also inorganically grow the market in the UK. Of course there is already a mature market, but we will focus on certain areas where we as BearingPoint are very strong."
Hamidian went on to explain that, when BearingPoint's European managers split off from its US parent, the firm lost its Dutch and UK offices.
Since then, BearingPoint has had to build up both countries from scratch.
"Of course that takes much longer," he said. "And, looking at our other markets in Europe, we already had critical mass. We have 350 people in the UK and Ireland, so we have a good mass, but looking at the size of the market, we need to be larger there."
BearingPoint has already made a string of acquisitions in the UK and most recently snapped up a small supply chain consultancy outfit called LCP Consulting in 2017.
Further international expansion is also on the cards for the IT behemoth. Alongside its consultancy business sits BearingPoint's technology and solutions arm, which Hamidian flagged as an expansion priority for the coming years.
With top-level partnerships with SAP, Microsoft and Salesforce, BearingPoint has around 50 vendor brands under its belt. It claims to specialise in advanced analytics, digital platforms and supply chain management.
Its digital platforms team consists of around 200 employees and is headed up by Angus Ward.
"In BearingPoint we can bring together this consulting strength with our own proprietary digital solutions and that is what I focus on," said Ward.
"Many of our clients struggle with low revenue growth and are suffering a slow death by 1,000 cuts as digitally adept companies cut into their markets. So they need to get closer to end customers.
"We are helping clients develop in a more exciting way, develop new business models and use our platform technologies that can help them monetise new multi-partner products and services."
In a big push for its digital platforms business, Hamidian said BearingPoint plans to grow its footprint in the US and China; countries that account for around 96 per cent of global digital platform consumption.
Again, buyouts might play a part in carving out a presence in both geographies, but Hamidian cautioned that the current M&A landscape is extremely "overheated", and said it's hard to find a good price for companies that are up for sale.
"As a result, we won't be doing anything crazy," he said. "If you look at the M&A market, not just in the UK but overall, the prices for buying companies is extremely high. It needs to be a good cultural and strategic fit, but it is not our intention to just overpay for anything."
Commenting on BearingPoint's performance last year, in which it hit 13 per cent revenue growth, Hamidian singled out Germany and France as its star performers.
"We grew by 18 per cent in Germany, which was outstanding compared with the pace of the market," he said. "Also, we added 1,100 people to the firm, which is also a big number, and we have been able to utilise them pretty quickly on our client side."
But Hamidian was sceptical about whether BearingPoint's buoyant growth last year is sustainable.
"We are still doing very well, but it is not as good as last year. There are certain markets where we did not see the growth that we did last year, but it has still been a very good year," he explained.
"The UK and Ireland has had a very strong year so far and Germany and France are doing very well. Some other countries are not performing as strongly as they did last year, but I think we can be very happy with the performance."
Meanwhile, Hamidian said there are absolutely no plans to change the management-led structure that BearingPoint has had in place for the last nine years, and said he'll continue the legacy laid out by his predecessor.
"We are an independent partnership, and we are going to stay an independent partnership," he said proudly.
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