• Alumni  
  • FacebookTwitterLinkedInXingGoogle+RSS
  • Country websites

Corporate Headquarters

Corporate headquarters (CHQ) have traditionally shaped the identity of their company by promoting a common culture based on shared values. They communicate its raison d'être to the outside world and make the company what it is to the people that work there. At the same time, CHQ define and apply corporate governance principles, ensure the provision of sufficient financing, manage portfolios and synergies and, not least, fulfill the company's reporting duties, both statutory and voluntary. But performing these fundamental capabilities well is no longer enough to justify their existence: Corporate headquarters are increasingly called upon to add value to the company as a whole and to both see and establish themselves as a business partner to the operating entities.

Roland Berger conducts regular analyses and surveys on corporate headquarters. Back in 1999, we started out by investigating the size and efficiency of CHQ. As of 2008, we increasingly looked at the role of corporate headquarters. In 2012 and 2014, the focal point was on identifying the specific capabilities that make corporate headquarters successful. As such, our CHQ study goes beyond conventional benchmarking, focusing on the key issues for the future and the levers that modern corporate headquarters can apply in order to add value.

Value levers and competitive edge

Today's corporate headquarters find themselves under immense pressure to enhance efficiency – they need to achieve more with less. Average CHQ costs range between 2% and almost 7% of company revenues, depending on what management concept they pursue and which industry cluster they belong to. Consequently, they need to demonstrate to their various stakeholders that they provide a parenting advantage, in other words that the business units or subsidiaries are substantially better off with their parent company than they would be without it. In our studies we have identified six value adding capabilities. Corporate headquarters need to be able to:

  • Provide strategic direction
  • Manage complexity
  • Enable global collaboration
  • Strengthen innovation
  • Ensure execution
  • Provide talent

These six value adding capabilities are what make the difference between good corporate headquarters and very good ones. They enable companies to generate a competitive edge with their corporate functions and shared services.

Roland Berger offers individual benchmarking to help make interested companies more efficient and agile. Encompassing much more than just the findings of our international surveys, our benchmark database also incorporates our experience from more than 400 client projects. The resulting CHQ Action Map shows companies what they can do in practice to focus on the six value adding capabilities of corporate headquarters. And helps them achieve a highly efficient yet elastic organizational structure in which centralized and decentralized functions complement each other perfectly.

Sound interesting? Please get in touch with our team of experts, who will be happy to help.

Our Experts

Tim Zimmermann


Munich, Germany
Phone: +49 89 9230-8362
E-mail: e-mail

Fabian Huhle


Munich, Germany
Phone: +49 89 9230-8486
E-mail: e-mail


Further reading

From Headquarters to ahead-quarters


In globally operating companies, the pressure on corporate headquarters is constantly rising …  >>

think: act CONTENT "Corporate Headquarters"

think: act CONTENT, 2013

Headquarters need to demonstrate that they add value to the business in order to justify their existence …  >>

Corporate Headquarters

Study, 2013

Our sixth edition of the corporate headquarters survey unveils five ways how outstanding headquarters add value, going beyond the traditional focus on cost and efficiency …  >>

Corporate Headquarters 2010

Study, 2010

For the fifth time in succession, we carried out our Corporate Headquarters study. 72 companies participated in this 2010 study …  >>

Our new study focuses on corporate HQs

think: act CONTENT, 2009

Centralization. Is this all merely a reaction to the global financial crisis? It is tempting to take this view – tempting but wrong. Witness our recent study that investigated the role, structure and size of corporate headquarters …  >>

Corporate Headquarters

Study, 2009

This study shows that the importance of German corporate headquarters is rising again. Of the 57 companies surveyed, 73% said they were again recentralizing operations …  >>

CEE Headquarters

Study, 2007

CEE has become a major growth region with high relevance across sectors – especially for Western European companies. However, the high complexity of the region makes management difficult. Due to its fragmentation, CEE requires different management approaches than Western Europe …  >>

From Headquarters to ahead-quarters


In globally operating companies, the pressure on corporate headquarters is constantly rising …  >>


Your expert contact


To participate in our corporate headquarters study 2016/17 please write us an

What you'll receive: An exclusive version of the detailed study results, a benchmarking assessment of your company's headquarters and a workshop with Roland Berger Experts regarding qualitative implications and quantitative results for your company.

Listen to an interview with Fabian Huhle about Corporate Headquarters on management radio.