Oliver Wyman swoops on Azure Consulting

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Sean SmithThe West Australian
Azure Consulting managing partner Robert Radley.
Camera IconAzure Consulting managing partner Robert Radley. Credit: Supplied/supplied

Global management consultancy Oliver Wyman is buying WA boutique firm Azure Consulting, bulking up on local expertise amid a rush by Australian companies for advice to help them navigate decarbonisation.

The purchase, expected to be finalised next month, will deliver the US-owned Oliver Wyman 20 professionals in Perth and Melbourne, including Azure Consulting’s four equity partners - Robert Radley, Mark Bosnich, Oliver Kerr and Michael Crestanello.

Owned by the New York-listed Marsh McLennan, Oliver Wyman suggested it was scouting other potential acquisitions to follow up on its WA purchase.

“We see outstanding opportunities for growth in the Australian consulting market and this acquisition is just the latest step in our efforts to build up our business here,” the firm’s Asia-Pacific managing partner Jacob Hook said.

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The purchase of Azure Consulting for undisclosed terms will expand Oliver Wyman’s presence in the resources sector and “particularly advance its efforts to continue supporting clients in the transition to a net-zero future”.

Mr Radley, who founded Azure Consulting with fellow partner Mark Bosnich under the banner of corporate advisory firm Azure Capital in 2014, said his firm’s “compelling capability in the energy transition space” had a been a major attraction for Oliver Wyman.

Decarbonisation, Mr Radley said, was a major talking point “everywhere” across business, which was now leading the transition rather than waiting for a lead from government.

“Most of the clients we work for today, both east and west coast, are all talking about how do they decarbonise their mining fleets?” he said. “Should they put in a battery fleet or should they be looking at hydrogen vehicles? And how do they create renewable energy opportunities?”

“It’s a big agenda and we have managed to carve out a deep expertise in the area. We are very pleased with what we managed to achieve there.”

Typically, however, Azure Consulting, while doing well financially, lacks the capital and muscle it needs to really scale up.

Mr Radley said the firm had been sounded out by potential buyers previously, but “this was probably the first time we took notice”.

“We weren’t looking to sell, we were on our own path,” he said.

“But what Oliver Wyman brings to bear for us is pretty significant. It enables us to take our platform and let it achieve its full potential

“In a boutique you just don’t have the capital to make the investments you need to make, especially around global IT and capabilities.

“This will make quite a big difference to our ability to serve our clients and make a real difference.”

Mr Radley, Azure Consulting’s managing partner, has had a busy career in WA since arriving in the State nearly 20 years ago and joining GEM Consulting, the boutique founded in 1996 by John Poynton, Mark Barnaba and others.

He participated in a management buyout of the business back from South Africa’s AST Group in 2004 only to sell it again three years later to PwC.

After heading PwC’s advisory business for nearly four years, Mr Radley helped set up management consultancy Bain & Co’s Perth office before again teaming up with Mr Bosnich, another GEM Consulting and PwC alumni, in 2014.

The Azure Consulting partners bought the business out of Azure Capital when French group Natixis took a majority stake in the latter three years ago.

Oliver Wyman has offices in 60 cities across 29 countries.

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