Bain & Company

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Bain & Company is a global management consulting firm headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, with offices in 27 countries. Bain is considered one of the most prestigious management consulting firms in the world, and for eight consecutive years has been named the "Best Firm to Work For" by Consulting Magazine.

Facing financial duress, Bain Capital partner Mitt Romney was asked to rejoin the firm as interim CEO. Bringing along two lieutenants from Bain Capital, Romney began traveling to all the Bain offices to rally employees.
The Boston Globe points out that “Over several weeks, Romney managed negotiations with the banks and among the partners,” and that “The moment came when negotiations produced a package in which (Bill) Bain and the founding partners would give up control of the firm, turning back $30 million they had taken from the ESOP and $100 million in notes they held against the firm.”
Romney’s plan involved "a complicated restructuring of the firm’s stock-ownership plan, real-estate deals, bank loans, and money still owed to partners". To avoid the financial crisis that a buyout would have triggered, the group of founding partners agreed to return about $100M cash and forgive outstanding debt..
Although in the role for just one year before returning to Bain Capital, Romney’s work had three profound impacts on the firm. First, ownership was officially shifted from the owners to the firm’s 70 general partners. Second, transparency in the firm’s finances increased dramatically (e.g., partners were able to know each other’s salaries). And finally, Bill Bain relinquished ownership in the firm that carried his name.
Within a year, Bain bounced back to profitability without major partner defections, and the groundwork was laid for a period of steady growth. In 1993 the head position was split into two roles – a Managing Director and a “non-executive” chairman of the board. Orit Gadiesh, named Bain’s first chairman in 1993, was fundamental in maintaining Bain’s culture. After spending two years in military intelligence for the Israeli army and earning a degree in psychology from Hebrew University, Gadiesh enrolled in the Harvard Business School and graduated as a Baker Scholar. As a junior partner during the turnaround she had been instrumental in keeping senior partners from leaving the firm, and as chairman she became the first female to lead one of the major consulting firms. Gadiesh was known throughout the firm for her passionate leadership and "True North" philosophy, which the firm still embraces. For the past several years, she has landed among Forbes' list of the "100 Most Powerful Women in Business" and is on the board of several organizations, including the World Economic Forum.
Under Gadiesh and MD Tom Tierney, Bain simultaneously loosened its restrictions around the one-client-per-industry policy, by assuring clients that the firm's strict internal Professional Standards prohibited the circulation of client data internally, and expanded its presence worldwide throughout the 1990s. The firm grew by 25 percent per year, expanded its number of offices from 12 to 26, and increased partnership from about 70 to nearly 200.
In 1997, the consulting firm Value Partners brought a suit against Bain regarding the defection of its Brazilian partners and office. The case went to trial in federal court in Boston. After a five-week trial, the jury found Bain liable for unfair competition and tortious interference, and awarded Value Partners $10 million in compensatory damages (the full award requested). The trial court, after awarding another $2.5 million of interest, denied all of Bain’s post-trial motions.
The 2000s began with Bain guiding its clients through the “New Economy” of e-commerce. The collapse of the dotcom, coupled with a general slowdown in the economy as had been faced in the early 1990s. The slowdown was painful on all of the major consulting players; however, Bain’s previous experiences with contraction left the firm zealous in avoiding layoffs. The firm weathered the economic downturn and emerged from it in a position of strength by investing in its leadership ranks with internal promotions and key external hires. Subsequently, the economic recovery has been followed by another period of sustained growth. In 2007, the firm expanded its number of worldwide offices to 37, with the opening of offices in Kiev, Moscow, Helsinki, and Frankfurt in Europe, and worldwide consulting staff increased to approximately 2,700.
The new millennium also brought changes to Bain’s traditional “generalist” approach to solving clients’ business issues. The firm developed areas of specialization with its deep industry “Practice Areas” in order to better serve the varying needs of its increasingly diverse multinational and local client base. Through targeted industry hires, Bain added industry experts to each of these new Practice Areas, significantly raising its profile in fields such as Financial Services, Healthcare, IT and Media and Entertainment industries.