Matthew Woods leads KPMG in Western Australia

30 January 2019 Consultancy.com.au

KPMG has named restructuring partner Matthew Woods as the firm’s chair of Western Australia. He takes responsibility for around 500 staff, including 35 partners. 

Matthew Woods joined KPMG as a partner in 2009, having previously served Norvest Corporate and Australian professional services firm Pitcher Partners (currently part of Baker Tilly International). At the Big Four firm, Woods built the firm’s Restructuring division in Perth into a leading practice in the region. 

Woods brings over two decades of experience in the areas of financial restructuring, operational restructuring and insolvency services to his new role. He has successfully restructured companies across a range of industries, with his most high-profile clients in the mining, oil and gas, engineering, property and retail sectors. 

He now aims to leverage his experience to direct the firm toward faster growth, in a bid to close the gap with the other Big Four firms. “Restructuring experts see risk in a different way, reflecting on a lot of things that looked good at the time but were the wrong thing to do. It doesn’t make us bullet-proof but it gives us an extra lens,” he said in discussion with The West Australian.

Matthew Woods leads KPMG in Western Australia

Despite’s KPMG impressive growth in the past two years – fee income jumped by 27% from $1.37 billion in FY16 to the current $1.74 billion – the firm remains the smallest of the four market leaders in Australia, just behind EY but trailing PwC some $600 million. Rival Deloitte is however the fastest grower of the group, with a 32% increase noted in the period. “If we are to achieve the strong growth ambitions we have for the firm locally and nationally then we are going to have to continue to aggressively look to grow the firm…  clearly we don’t want to stay number four,” he said.

The new chair of Western Australia added that he is further keen to deploy his background deal-making in the new role. “As a deals person in the chairman’s role, I will naturally be quite inquisitive,” he said. “[On top of organic growth, we will continue to look in the market for opportunities to acquire businesses that will lead to sensible, sustainable growth for our business.”

Over the past years, KPMG has closed several deals in Australia, including that of customer experience consultancy UDKU (U Don't Know Us), Western Sydney-based YCG Accountants, engineering advisory firm Relken, FinTech company Markets IT, and the Migration Services arm of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Western Australia.

Woods succeeds Gary Smith, who will move into a special advisory role in KPMG’s Indigenous Services practice until he retires from the firm in June. Smith previously headed the accounting and consulting firm’s Perth office for seven years. KPMG has 14 offices in Australia, of which two are based in Western Australia: Perth and Karratha. 

Earlier this month, HR and risk consultancy Willis Towers Watson named Simon Weaver head of its Australasia region.

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Ian Watt leads Energy & Environment arm of L.E.K Consulting Australia

15 April 2019 Consultancy.com.au

Ian Watt has joined L.E.K Consulting’s as a partner and leader of the firm’s Australian Energy & Environment practice. Watt is based in Sydney.

“We are delighted to welcome Ian Watt to L.E.K Consulting,” said Nick Holder, who leads the firm’s operations in the Asia Pacific region and is country leader of the Australia business. “His experience working with utilities to successfully address waves of market disruption and regulatory complexity bolsters our ability to drive value creation for clients.” 

Watt joins from Strategy&, where he worked since 2010, initially with Booz & Company before transitioning to Strategy& through PwC's $1 billion acquisition of Booz in 2014. He brings over a decade of experience advising clients in the energy, utilities, mining and industrials sectors across Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America. His experiences span the utility value chain, and comprise a mix of growth strategy (strategic planning, go-to-market models), operational transformation (cost, business model, and performance optimisation) and innovation (design of new products and services). 

During his career at Strategy&, Watt worked from the firm’s offices in London, Sydney, and most recently Calgary – he relocated to Canada in 2016 to help launch and build the Strategy& firm in the country. Prior to his consulting spell, he held several technical an economic consulting roles in the engineering industry, having started his career in Mott MacDonald’s consultancy team in the UK.

Ian Watt leads Energy & Environment arm of L.E.K ConsultingAt L.E.K Consulting, which has over 1,400 professionals globally, Watt will lead the Australian Energy & Environment practice. His appointment comes at a time when the energy & utilities sector is facing major change, with market disruption and regulatory complexity taking hold. According to L.E.K. Consulting, “Primary energy suppliers, OEMs and utilities, among others, turn to L.E.K. to benefit from its experience gathered over decades of tackling major strategic and operational issues in the sector.”

The presence of large energy conglomerates and mining giants means Australia's energy & resources consulting industry is the 2nd largest globally, trailing just the massive market of the United States. Government data shows that the resources sector comprise 15% to 20% of the national economy and up to 60% of Australia’s exports. BHP Billiton (the fourth largest company by revenue in Australia) and Rio Tinto (revenue of $40 billion) are major players in the space, meanwhile beyond mining & resources, companies such as energy retailers (e.g. Alinta Energy, BlueNRG, Click Energy, etc) and energy generators (e.g. AGL, Origin and EnergyAustralia) are ramping up their spending on external consultants in a bid to successfully position themselves for future sustainable growth. 

Watt’s move brings the total of new partners at L.E.K. in Australia to three this year. Previously, Joe Sponholtz joined the Sydney office from rival consultancy Partners In Performance, while Melbourne-based Philip Wheeler was promoted internally to partner.

Last week, Bain & Company named a new leader for its Australia and New Zealand division: company veteran Peter Stumbles.