Partners in Performance to be picked up by Accenture

21 May 2024 3 min. read

Premier Australian-headquartered management consultancy Partners in Performance is set to join professional services giant Accenture, according to a report in the Australian Financial Review.

Partners in Performance was established in 1996 by former McKinsey consultant Skipp Williamson, and has since grown into one of the country’s leading independent consultancies with a headcount in of 600+ across five continents.

The sale – should it be closed in June as reported – is likely to cause additional consternation among local lawmakers, with Accenture and the Big Four swallowing up many of the country’s mid-sized consultancies, alongside other global tech firms.

Partners in Performance to be picked up by Accenture

An Accenture acquisition of Partners in Performance however would have a different feel about it to the regular digital exits, akin to EY’s purchase of elite boutique Port Jackson Partners in 2020 (likewise founded by McKinsey alumni back in 1991), with the consultancy having been in operation for almost three decades and carrying a proud independent air.

Indeed, Williamson established the firm as an alternative to the “traditional model”, with a greater emphasis on implementing long-lasting organisational improvements beyond “smart strategy”. As part of its approach, the firm offers its predominantly heavy-industry clients a performance-based fee structure, earning a cut on the quantifiable value of the impact delivered.

Such has been the success of the firm, Williamson was named on the AFR’s 2018 list of the country’s most powerful consultants, alongside then McKinsey, BCG, Deloitte and PwC bosses John Lydon, Andrew Clark, Cindy Hook, and Luke Sayers. Sticking the boots in to a struggling industry, the AFR’s list last year included just the one actual consultant: Accenture CEO Peter Burns.

Since his sudden appointment to the top role in late 2021, Burns has overseen an ongoing expansion of Accenture in the A/NZ market (the latter more than doubling its revenues in the space of two years), including through five local acquisitions. Perhaps chief among those, from a PiP perspective, was last year’s pick up of Perth-based mining and energy consultancy ATI Solutions.

While the terms of the latest potential deal remain confidential, the AFR notes that pre-pandemic revenues of Partners in Performance stood at around the $120 million mark. Headquartered in Sydney, the consultancy has maintained an agile approach since its inception, but also has outlets in the United Kingdom, South Africa, South America, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.