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Roland Berger celebrates 45 years of strategy success and growth

Roland Berger
Martin Wittig

Munich: German strategy consultancy Roland Berger celebrated its 45th anniversary this week — and it can look back on a remarkable success story.

The firm has emerged as a global player; the company now has 240 Partners and around 2,700 employees working in 51 offices in 36 countries worldwide. It is the only strategy consultancy of European origin among the world's top 5 in this segment.

Roland Berger founded his management consultancy back in 1967. It was a one-man business with an office in Munich, supported by just a single secretary. One of the start-up's first major projects was to solve a marketing problem for Touropa, a tourism company. The approach he took led to mergers that created the giant travel group TUI. This, and further large assignments for companies such as Farbwerke Höchst or Barilla, marked the beginning of an unrivalled international success story.

Today, with around 2,700 employees working in 51 offices in 36 countries, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants is one of the world's top 5 strategy consultancies. In recent years, it has enjoyed particularly successful growth in Asia, above all China, and in Eastern Europe, where it now ranks number two. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants advises not only leading international industrial and service businesses but also public sector institutions. Its portfolio of expertise encompasses all aspects of strategic management — including business alignment, new business models, processes and organizational structures, information strategies and technology strategies. The company is represented in all the world's major economic and growth regions with its own offices. The Berger experts are currently advising around 1,000 clients. They include at least a third of the thousand biggest global business groups and half of Europe's leading companies.

Later this week, on November 22, Roland Berger celebrates his 75th birthday. He ran the consultancy, which he had founded in 1967, until 2003. The CEO role was then passed on to Burkhard Schwenker, while Roland Berger became Chairman of the Supervisory Board. The process of handing over to the next generation was finally completed in 2010. Since then, Martin Wittig has led the company as CEO. Burkhard Schwenker chairs the Supervisory Board, and Roland Berger is Honorary Chairman.

"We're proud to be celebrating a successful anniversary after 45 years of dynamic company history," says Berger boss Martin Wittig. "It's a chance to thank our clients, business partners and colleagues who have made this achievement possible. We remain committed to quality and are on course for further growth."

Roland Berger's excellent positioning in the global market was reinforced in 2010 by its "Plan for Growth". This amounted to an agreement among the Partners at Roland Berger to invest once again in sustainable growth. "Our strategy has paid off, above all in the core markets," notes Wittig. "We've opened twelve new offices since 2010, strengthening our presence especially in the US, Scandinavia, Southeast Asia and Africa. We've been able to capture key shares of markets across the world." Going forward, the upward trend is set to continue.

The consultancy has also become an intellectual force, triggering international public debate and setting the agenda with its ideas on a range of issues. Recent contributions have dealt with topics such as the new business model for a European rating agency, economic and financial recovery in Greece, initiatives to reindustrialize Europe, and the mobilization of private investors for infrastructure development in a European growth strategy. These contributions also include regular macro-economic scenarios, initiatives on Africa's role as a global growth engine and analyses of the economic opportunities presented by mega-trends such as demographics, resource scarcity and technological progress. "Innovative thinking on key issues and a strong focus on interdisciplinary approaches have been integral to our mission for many years. And they feed back into the quality and creativity of our strategy advice," explains Burkhard Schwenker, who chairs the Supervisory Board at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and heads the Roland Berger School of Strategy and Economics.

In its efforts to become a thought leader, the company launched the Roland Berger School of Strategy and Economics at the beginning of 2012. This new institution bundles the know-how of Roland Berger's experts and disseminates knowledge both within the consultancy and increasingly to an external audience. The school enables strategists to explore topics through collaboration with national and international organizations and in partnership with top universities. The important findings that flow from these studies are regularly published in the school's journal "Thoughts". The latest issue, for instance, presents a study on megatrends and the economic opportunities they will offer. A book on good leadership is due to appear at the end of this year.

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