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BCG acquires "purpose-driven" consulting pioneer BrightHouse

Rich Lesser

Atlanta: The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is to acquire BrightHouse, LLC, the purpose-driven consulting pioneer. BCG also announced the hiring of Doug Shipman, founding CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta and a BCG alumnus, as incoming CEO of BrightHouse.

BrightHouse will operate as a stand-alone business unit within BCG and will retain its top leadership team. Founder Joey Reiman-- an authority on leadership, marketing, and creativity--will remain actively involved as Chairman. Cathy Carlisi will stay as President and Chief Creative Officer, and Dolly Meese will continue as Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer.

True purpose

Based in Atlanta, BrightHouse works with organizations to "define their true purpose and then align their culture, strategy, and branding around that purpose to accelerate transformation and value creation, while positively impacting society." BrightHouse's unique methodology and frameworks have been adopted by Fortune Global 500 companies, including American Express, Delta Air Lines, Michelin, Nestlé, and Procter & Gamble.

Full details of the transaction were not disclosed, but BCG President and CEO Rich Lesser said that BrightHouse represents an important capabilities acquisition for the firm.

"By adding BrightHouse's creative strengths to BCG's, we can each expand our offerings and fulfill greater, deeper, and longer-term client demand. Together, we have one-of-a-kind capabilities--a holistic solution and partner for both purpose articulation and activation across our clients' entire organizations to create transformative growth."

Reiman of BrightHouse noted that for more than 50 years, businesses have been turning to BCG for world-class management consulting. Now, they will be able to turn to BCG to uncover and activate their organization's purpose.

"The company that pioneered business strategy is uniting with the company that pioneered purpose," Reiman said. "BCG is the perfect partner to help us bring about purpose-driven transformation across our clients' enterprises."

Shipman will join BrightHouse as its CEO in mid-July. A former BCG principal, he worked in the firm's New York, Mumbai, and Atlanta offices for some six-years, leaving in February 2007 to lead an effort to establish the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. The Center, an award-winning cultural institution that opened to the public last June, connects the American Civil Rights Movement to today's global human-rights movements.

"Issues of purpose and impact are top of mind for leaders of public, private, and non-profit organizations," said Shipman. "I'm thrilled to be joining the leading firm in purpose-driven consulting. BrightHouse and BCG together will have an unparalleled offering, leveraging BCG's global reach and deep expertise across industries and functions. Having worked with Joey Reiman and the BrightHouse team on several occasions, I'm excited and humbled to have the opportunity to lead such a dynamic group of creative and strategic change agents."

Working together

BCG and BrightHouse have a history of working together, having collaborated on a number of purpose-driven transformation projects. BrightHouse will work with all of BCG's industry and functional practices.

Mike Deimler, an Atlanta-based senior partner who is spearheading an initiative to expand BCG's service offerings, said the acquisition signaled the firm's commitment to bringing new sources of value creation to BCG's clients, consistent with the launch of BCG Digital Ventures in 2014.

"We are excited for BrightHouse to become part of the BCG family and are looking forward to jointly accelerating the growth trajectory of this business," said Deimler, who formerly served as global leader of BCG's Strategy practice.

Demand for purpose-driven consulting has seen healthy growth in recent years, as executives look to leave a legacy and consumers seek a greater sense of meaning from their purchases. For employees, purpose is a key driver of engagement and culture.

Describing how purpose transforms an organization, Reiman explained: "Purpose--what a company stands for--becomes the 'edit point' for everything an organization should do--and should not do--to bring that purpose to life. It is not only about customer communication but also, importantly, about alignment across the functions of a company, broad-scale culture change, and frontline employee activation."

Reflecting on BrightHouse joining forces with BCG, Reiman added: "When the world's top consulting firm buys the company that brings purpose to society, it's because they know that the most important client is, in fact, humanity."

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