Bain celebrates 50 years in business with ongoing expansion

25 September 2023 Consultancy.com.au 4 min. read
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Established in 1973 and arriving in Australia fifteen years on, global management consulting firm Bain & Company this year celebrates its 50th anniversary – while continuing to grow in the region.

Global management consultancy Bain & Company is celebrating 50 years in business, growing in that time from its Boston base to now include 65 offices around the world with the latest launch of an outlet in Vietnam.

Bain & Company first entered the Asia Pacific region via a Tokyo office in 1981, at least a decade behind its older MBB rivals, but in fact beat Boston Consulting Group to Australian shores with an office established in Sydney in 1989.

Bain celebrates 50 years in business with ongoing expansion

Founded in 1973 by Bill Bain, the firm is now recognised as one of the three most prestigious management consultancies in the world, alongside fellow American giants McKinsey & Company and Boston Consulting Group, the latter where Bain had served as vice president shortly after its own establishment in 1963. Indeed, Bain is believed to have been considered founder Bruce Henderson’s natural successor, before departing to start his own rival outfit.

While McKinsey – which will shortly celebrate the 100th-year-anniversary of its 1926 founding – has been active in Australia since around 1962, Bain managed to get a local jump on BCG at a time of economic liberalisation, with the latter entering the country via the purchase of McKinsey breakaway Pappas, Carter, Evans and Koop (PKEK). Bain would then beat McKinsey to the punch in Perth in 2011 during the mining boom.

Having also opened an office in Melbourne in 2000, Bain today has an Australian team of around 50 partners and expert partners according to the numbers listed on its website, including the five who were admitted during the firm’s most recent round of global mid-year promotions. The firm has been led by Sydney-based managing partner Peter Stumbles since 2019, with Satish Shankar taking over as APAC managing partner around the same time.

While the firm didn’t permanently enter Southeast Asia until 2010, with offices in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok (BCG and McKinsey have had active bases there since the early to mid-90s), the growing region has become a particular focal point of Bain in recent years, culminating with the launch of an office in Ho Chi Minh City earlier this month to run alongside its other South East Asian outlets in Singapore, Jakarta and Manila, the latter launched last year.

“We are excited to expand our global footprint in Vietnam, one of the most vibrant and fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia,” said Wade Cruse, who was promoted to regional managing partner last year, with inaugural Vietnam boss Andrea Campagnoli adding, “We see immense potential in the young local population, and part of our mission is to attract local top talent and to equip them with the best skills across a range of capabilities.”

In terms of its 50-year anniversary, Bain has taken a mostly understated approach, highlighting the firm’s ‘insurgent mindset’ as to innovation and value building. One aspect of that is the recent launch of a venture building fund focused solely on initiatives started or led by alum – Future Back Ventures – with the firm claiming it has the highest ratio of startup founders than any other business, including at least 20 unicorns and now rival L.E.K. Consulting.