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The Company's Origins....

Have the Company objectives - as recorded in the 1992 minutes - been realised...?

At the recent Installation Dinner, our 25th, I was asked to say a few words about the formation of the Company.  Thinking about it, I felt that why the company was formed was rather more interesting than how.

The prime movers were two individuals, David Miller, the energetic head of Coopers and Brian O’Rorke the charismatic Director of the MCA.  They tried out the idea by organising a dinner for six of the ‘movers and shakers’ of the profession at the time. No doubt influenced by the convivial setting, the food and wine, they proved enthusiastic. Held on 27th October 1992, the minutes recorded that the overall objective of the Company should be ‘to raise the status of management consultancy within the community’ and within that objective, it should be:

                Charitable, with an orientation towards the community

                - Educational

                - Dynamic

                - Sociable and companionable

It was also agreed that its members should be drawn from a broad church, embracing ‘academia, strategy houses, in-house consultants, senior management with past consultancy experience and members of the profession’.

Armed with this vision, the initial group then approached the heads of the other major consultancy practices, the majority of whom who were highly supportive, and the rest as they say, is history.

However, what was the real motivation for starting the Company?  After all, it was going to be a long haul, starting off as just a Guild, at a time when several of the individuals concerned were already members of well-established Livery Companies.

I think that the answer is three-fold.  Firstly, there was a feeling that management consultancy had become a well-established profession, and since other professions all had their respective City Companies, consultancy ought to take its place amongst them. Secondly, there was a belief that individual consultants ought to feel part of a wider movement - a profession with high standards, ethics and influence - rather than just being an employee of a particular firm. Thirdly, the individuals concerned in setting up the venture actually liked each other’s company, and despite spending most of their working hours fighting each other for business, quite liked the idea of doing something together.

This last point is borne out by the fact that, decades later, the early Masters still maintain close friendships.

The Company has changed in the meantime, of course. That is inevitable. The profession has changed and will keep on changing; this needs to be reflected in the membership.  If you look around at the long-established companies, you won’t find many tallow-chandlers in business today; at the same time their Company has remained a fine City institution.    And the Fan Makers now draws far more members from the aero-engine industry than from the world of  ladies’ accoutrements .

Perhaps, in a century or two, people will ask ‘What was a management consultant?’, but hopefully the Company will still be going strong.

What is pleasing is that if you look at the Company today, and look at those original objectives and at the underlying motivation, those early aims and aspirations still appear to hold good.  From a founder’s standpoint that’s very satisfying.









Sir George Cox - Co-Founder and Past Master