Australia’s most powerful consultants for 2021 (according to AFR)

28 September 2021 3 min. read
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Who are the most powerful consultants in Australia’s $6 billion consulting industry? According to a list by the Australian Financial Review, here are the six most influential consultants for 2021.

It’s been a big twelve months at the very top of Australia’s strategy and management consulting scene, a dramatic shift reflected in this year’s annual power list compiled by the business publication.

Since July of last year, all four of the Big Four have welcomed new CEOs, as has the unofficial fifth member of the band of Australia’s largest professional services firms: Accenture – whose British-born ANZ CEO Tara Brady was named at the top of the list.

Australia’s most powerful consultants for 2021

Tara Brady

Taking the helm in September of last year, Brady has been with Accenture since 2013, joining the firm via the partnership of Capco and crossing from its UK office. He also served in an earlier managing director stint with PwC, and now leads the Australian and New Zealand market of what is a $50 billion global business, having overseen half a dozen acquisitions during his short time in charge. The firm employs roughly 5,000 people in Australia.

Tom Seymour

Tapped to take over from outgoing CEO Luke Sayers last year (who has since established his own, eponymous consultancy), current PwC CEO Tom Seymour retains his spot on the consulting power list from 2020, albeit falling one place.

With a headcount in excess of 8,000 generating local revenues of $2.6 billion, PwC remains Australia’s largest professional services firm by revenue. A talent crunch has recently seen the firm embark on a significant pay overhaul.

Chris Bradley

What self-respecting consultancy power list wouldn’t include a member of McKinsey, the management firm which exudes power? At third on the list is senior partner Chris Bradley, who according to the AFR estimates he has advised more than 90 chief executives and non-executive directors over the past year alone. The firm’s Strategy & Corporate Finance Practice leader for Asia, Bradley has been with McKinsey for more than two decades.

His recent client work spans media, banking, retail, consumer packaged goods, and telecommunications. In recent years, the overriding theme of this work is helping leading companies meet the challenge of digital disruption, face threats, and lean into opportunities through business model transformation.

Adam Powick

Edging out the other Big Four CEO elevations, David Larocca of EY and KPMG’s Andrew Yates, is the recently-installed head of Australia’s second biggest professional services firm Deloitte; Adam Powick.

Drafted into the CEO role from his former position heading up Deloitte’s Asia Pacific Consulting practice, Powick has been at the firm for almost 30 years. The one-time tech consultant now oversees a team of 10,000-plus across offices in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Matt & Simone Rennie

This year’s surprise entry is husband and wife duo Matt & Simone Rennie, former leaders at EY and energy sector experts who set out on their own this year to launch boutique strategic and regulatory consultancy Rennie Partners. The firm in particular aims to support businesses in reducing emissions and navigating the transition to net-zero; and while the timing seems right in that sense, the new firm must now compete in a tight market for talent.

With Seymour the only returnee, those who have fallen out of the top five this year include other consulting bosses Byron Pirola, who sold strategy consultancy Port Jackson Partners to EY for a reputed $50 million last year, and 2018-2020 power list entry Skipp Williamson, the founder and managing director of Partners in Performance. Long-time Deloitte economist Chris Richardson and KPMG managing partner for Enterprise, Paul Howes, also dropped out.