Management consultants to contest upcoming federal election

03 April 2022 3 min. read
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The consulting-politics merry-go-round looks set to continue for the upcoming federal election, with management consultants Simon Kennedy and Yannick Spencer selected as candidates.

A pair of management consultants have joined the election fray on opposite sides of the country, and for opposing parties. Former McKinsey & Company partner Simon Kennedy has been elected as a Liberal candidate for the Sydney seat of Bennelong, while Labor has selected Azure Consulting’s Yannick Spencer as its candidate for the Perth seat of Curtin.

Accenture’s Andrew Charlton has meanwhile been confirmed as Labor’s candidate for Parramatta.

Simon Kennedy, Yannick Spencer and Andrew Charlton

Simon Kennedy

Having now resigned, Kennedy was with McKinsey & Company for over 14 years, and is credited with co-founding the management consulting giant’s public sector practice in Australia – which is today its biggest money-spinner, pulling in almost $60 million in the last financial year from the federal government alone. He was admitted to McKinsey’s partnership in 2016, and had previously spent seven years with the firm in Washington.

According to reports, Kennedy comfortably defeated the centre-moderate favourite Gisele Kapterian, a former ministerial advisor who has since 2019 served as a senior director of APAC Public Sector Strategy for Salesforce.

As a traditionally safe Liberal seat, currently held by retiring former tennis player John Alexander, Kennedy has a good chance of joining energy minister and fellow McKinsey ex-partner Angus Talyor as a member of parliament.

Yannick Spencer

Indeed, another McKinsey alumus could also enter parliament in May, with Yannick Spencer contesting the seat of Curtin – where he’ll incidentally be up against independent Kate Chaney, a former principal at Boston Consulting Group. Spencer spent three years with McKinsey in Melbourne and Perth, before later going on to join recent Oliver Wyman acquisition Azure Consulting, where he was promoted to associate director last year.

With Azure since 2016, Spencer works predominantly in the energy and natural resources sector with a focus on climate and sustainability work (action on climate change is a campaign platform), advising on corporate strategy, business unit strategy, and organisational design and effectiveness.

According to his Azure bio, he also has extensive experience in the utilities, government and policy, aged care, retail, higher education, and industrial products sectors.

Andrew Charlton

Meanwhile, Labor has confirmed Accenture managing director Andrew Charlton for the seat of Parramatta, after being elected unopposed. Charlton was one of two candidates the federal branches of both major parties have been attempting to parachute into Sydney seats, alongside PwC management consultant Alex Dore – the latter which still remains unresolved at the time of writing, although the Liberal federal executive cancelled a pre-selection ballot last week.

“I’ve spent the last 20 years as an economist and a business owner building stronger economies and stronger communities and that is exactly what I want to do as the member of Parramatta,” Charlton said. “Helping people with the financial pressures on families especially childcare costs, creating the building blocks of opportunity, skills and infrastructure and helping to ensure Parramatta is a jobs hub for good high paid high skilled jobs and strong small businesses.”