"We are entrepreneurs at heart. This is what still makes us unique 50 years after the foundation of the company."
50 years ago, management consulting was a novel concept that had barely made it across the Atlantic. In 1967, at just 29 years old, Roland Berger establishes "Roland Berger International Marketing Consultants", a small Munich-based consultancy firm consisting of two members: Roland Berger and his assistant. His background at that time: a degree in business administration and economics, and professional experience as a partner at the American-Italian joint venture Gennaro-Boston. He is also already a serial entrepreneur – as a student he successfully started and ran his own launderette as well as a beverage business. It is precisely this 'can do' start-up mentality that still epitomizes what our consultancy offers our clients, today more than ever.
A global partnership
Our founder uses a small-scale marketing assignment as an opportunity to help merge four tourism companies into giant tour operator TUI. Very early he understands the importance of – at that time - critical size to outperform a strong competitor, Neckermann, who was the first to offer package tours. The foundation of TUI becomes our firm's breakthrough case in Germany. Soon, other spectacular projects follow. Sales double annually. In 1973, only six years after it was founded, Roland Berger is the third largest consultancy in Germany.
Speed and success characterize the coming decade. Our business becomes more international during the seventies, beginning with the first additional offices in Europe, South America, and Asia as well as alliances with local partners in the US. In 1980, Roland Berger is the first European consultancy to be accepted as a member to the American Association of Consulting Management Engineers (ACME). Our company is now one of the leading strategy consultancies worldwide.
In the 1990's, Roland Berger turns from an owner-operated consultancy into a solid partnership with a global Executive Committee.
After the fall of the Iron Curtain, Roland Berger soon opens up further offices in Eastern European capitals, then in Moscow, and reaches out to China with our Beijing office as early as 1993.
A new generation takes over
In 2004, the company takes a huge step towards a genuine partnership with a new two-tier management structure composed of the Executive Committee and Supervisory Board, both of which are elected by the partners. It is with this new governance model that the company has grown to become the only strategy consultancy of European origin in the top global league.
This has an impact on the way we understand our business. Roland Berger is one partnership and one team working towards perfection for our clients. We are used to dealing with diversity and complexity, therefore we believe in inclusion rather than exclusion, an all-out stakeholder orientation, and sustainability rather than short-termism. As an independent company, we are proud of our entrepreneurial spirit and our capacity to innovate.
Independent, client-oriented and agile
Our Partners chose to be independent in order to be able to make their own choices and provide our clients with the most impartial advice.
In a traditional understanding of a consultancy firm, you may rely on size. Today, however, it is impact that matters – this is true for our clients as well for ourselves. We have a global footprint and the critical mass to really influence the rules of the game but at the same time, we are small enough to act fast and flexibly, as required by a changing environment.
Roland Berger has taken on a commitment — to live up to the high standards that the company's founder established, a strictly objective viewpoint coupled with integrity, creativity, vision, and a wealth of innovative ideas – no matter what the future may hold.
In line with our corporate vision of becoming the most valuable consultancy firm worldwide, the new Roland Berger is reflected in our 2015 rebranding. Our new corporate logo is a "titanium B" combined with the "Roland Berger" lettering. This new branding represents yet another juncture in our company history and the B is designed as a standalone, liquid object. It can take many forms and represents agility.
Today, Roland Berger provides high-value-adding services as an integral business advisor via a new combination of knowledge, technology, and capital that is clearly beyond traditional strategy consulting. We are committed to providing deep insights into our clients' industries and extensive knowledge of corporate functions. We facilitate and promote new alliances, and digital technology allows us to create value for our clients by offering game-changing insights.
Our start-up mentality and value proposition of always being one step ahead is as true today as it was 50 years ago. Half a century on, as ever, we are in the right place at the right time.
- Photo credits Jung von Matt, -strizh-, iStopckphoto; Roland Berger, Urban Zintel
- Photos Chesky_W/iStock; nrqemi/iStock; Yagi-Studio/iStock; Ashley Florence/University of Virginia; A.E. Fletcher Photography / PR.; Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Images; -strizh- / iStockphoto; Urban Zintel