The Crafty Punit Renjen: The Man with a Plan
A while back we conducted an interview with a Deloitte US partner. We assumed at the time that he was simply waxing lyrical and aggressively marketing Deloitte. Over the last week, we met a few more Deloitte partners from the UK and found out some interesting things. There seems to be some positive things afoot and it seems to be stemming from one man, Punit Renjen – Global CEO for Consulting.
- Renjen has been pushing very hard for the Deloitte strategy (he previously led the strategy practice within consulting) practice offices worldwide to share more and operate as a unified team. Although the jury seems to be out on this, people we spoke to said that the direction has definitely improved for the better.
- He was appointed to the Deloitte board about a year back. This means that Deloitte is explicitly endorsing his ambitions for consulting. They are sending a clear message to the business that consulting partners have a shot at leading Deloitte, and that success in consulting is important to the firm.
- Yes, Deloitte has increased its publications in the Harvard Business Review. They are still trailing Bain and McKinsey but at least they are in the right company.
- Deloitte has launched their response to the McKinsey Quarterly and Harvard Business Review. It’s called the Deloitte Review. It still has some way to go before it can be called a peer to MQ and HBR but it is a quantum improvement on earlier Deloitte publications.
- We have previously reviewed Deloitte’s efforts to launch one strategy brand and look-and-feel for their assignments. This is still a work in progress since we still see presentations in Europe, Russia and China with different branding. Nonetheless, it is a move forward.
- Renjen has been aggressively hiring some major thinkers: John Hagel III and John Seely Brown have both joined and are running something called the Centre for the Edge. Renjen seems to have lured other stars including McKinsey’s former quarterly editor-in-chief and several heavy-weights from Bain and BCG.
- We struggled to confirm this, but Renjen apparently held Deloitte’s internal strategy practice awards on Second Life. This was a full two years before any of the other consulting firms tried anything in web 2.0. If it’s true, then the culture at Deloitte is definitely changing. The only reference we found to Deloitte and Second Life was in an Australian publication.
Clearly Deloitte’s strategy practice pre-Renjen was a joke but post-Renjen, we will have to admit, is showing clear signs of improvement. And you know we have not held back our criticism for Deloitte Consulting in the past.
So there are two questions which spring to mind:
- Deloitte’s Strategy practice has come a long way, but it still needs to go further. What is the plan and who is leading the execution? Who is Renjen’s successor now that he leads all of consulting? It’s a lot tougher to go from 80% to 95%, then from 50% to 80%. Can Deloitte Strategy do it? They will have to convince us by explaining their strategy.
- Will Renjen overhaul the rest of consulting the way he seems to have lit up strategy? If Deloitte could get technology and people services to do a pivot, then I think Renjen may have secured his place as worldwide CEO of Deloitte.
If Renjen can make the consulting supermarket he is leading actually work, that would be something. Lets hope he is not friends with Vikram Pandit who clearly does not know how to run a supermarket.