The most influential consultants in Australia revealed

03 October 2018 4 min. read

According to a soon to be released publication by the Australian Financial Review’s AFR Magazine, the top 5 most influential consultants throughout the country are John Lydon, Andrew Clark, Skipp Williamson, Cindy Hook and Luke Sayers.

The Australian consulting market is fast becoming one of the most powerful industries throughout the country. With digital transformation, automation and government outsourcing fuelling the growth spurt, the industry does not appear to be slowing down either. As a result, multinational consulting firms continue to gain power and influence in Australia. 

The consulting industry’s rise in prominence has also made its mark on Australian politics – with the Labor Party vowing to restrict the use of consultants if they win the next federal election. The announcement came just as news broke that the Australian consulting industry had reached a worth of $5 billion, with the public sector making up just under 20% of that total.

A tit for tat battle ensured between the Liberal and Labor parties over the use of consultants for what would traditionally have been public servant work. A joint parliamentary committee inquiry into consulting followed shortly after. In an attempt to further comply with the government’s wishes and clear up the industry’s image, consulting firms have become more transparent – as opposed to the illusive practices of yesteryear. 

One of the key reasons for the secrecy for clients is that consulting firms are brought into solve a specific problem so that clients can gain an advantage over their competition. Consulting firms themselves do not wish to release information in regards to their contracts or proposals as it may effect their ability to tender in the future. Combined, these factors have an impact on how firms operate in the public sector. 

The most influential consultants in Australia revealed

One of the key performers in this regard is McKinsey & Company’s current Australian Managing Partner and number one on the AFR Magazine list, John Lydon. McKinsey is perhaps the most prestigious and most secretive consulting firm globally, but under the leadership of Lydon, the firm has shed that image.

According to the ranking, Lydon has among one of the largest networks in the business community and has driven profits throughout the firm with the introduction of rapid turnaround service (RTS), which now account for upwards of one third of McKinsey’s revenue in Australia. This year’s most influential consultant is also a crowned champion of gender diversity and equality in the workplace.

Second on the list is The Boston Consulting Group’s Managing Director Andrew Clark. Clark has been a kingpin in the agile working domain, with the new BCG branch of Digital Ventures often employing entrepreneurs to foster an innovation culture and a startup environment. With an oversight of both worlds – from startups to big business – Clark knows the ins and outs of Australia’s digital revolution. 

Australian entrepreneur, consultant and Managing Partner of Partners in Performance (PiP), Skipp Williamson ranks in as the third most influential consultant this year. Williamson is an ex-McKinsey consultant who went on to found global management consulting firm PiP in 1996. In the years since, PiP has gone on to become one of Australia’s largest consulting firms and has successfully expanded across Africa, Asia, New Zealand, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North America. 

Deloitte’s Cindy Hook took fourth place, however if the reach of the ranking was expanded to the entire Asia Pacific she probably would have taken first. It was recently announced by the Big Four consulting and accounting firm that Hook would take on the role of CEO of the firm’s Asia Pacific practice after a mega-merger earlier this year. Hook is one of the most influential businesswomen in Australia and is a prominent voice on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

Last but certainly not least is Luke Sayers of PwC Australia. Sayers has been with PwC for around 17 years and has driven a revenue of $2.4 billion. He has also overseen and nurtured PwC’s strategy consulting arm Strategy& which today generates upwards of $600 million alone. Earlier this year under Sayers’ lead, PwC has reduced the gender pay gap throughout the firm and ensured that it was square and equal at a partner level.