Tom Crawford to head new global advisory practice at FTI Consulting

02 July 2018

FTI Consulting has set up a new global advisory practice within its Strategic Communications group. Led by veteran consultant and public policy specialist Tom Crawford, the practice will help multinational clients navigate growing protectionism across world markets.

The Strategic Communications segment at FTI Consulting comprises more than 600 consultants spread over key worldwide markets who advise clients on overcoming common hurdles associated with market entry. These might include tax and regulatory challenges, as well as matters of reputation, which demand skilled communication with the relevant stakeholders to ensure success.

With the rise of nationalism and protectionist measures from the US to China, Turkey, Brazil and Russia, FTI Consulting has decided to establish a new global advisory practice within its Strategic Communications segment to help companies combat stricter regulations and criteria for market entry.

Chief of Strategic Communications at the consulting firm, Mark McCall, said that the core aim of the new advisory practice was to fight for clients’ “freedom to operate” in a more hostile global environment.

“There is a fundamental shift in how companies must adapt to gain or maintain freedom to operate – the ability to execute its business plan and level the playing field without interference or disadvantage,” he said in a statement, adding that countries were increasingly expressing their sovereignty by enacting tight regulations that protect and insulate their markets.

“Globalization no longer means ‘market access,’ as countries are exercising sovereignty by taxing, regulating and protecting their markets, companies and resources in the context of national interest,” McCall added.

Tom Crawford, Global advisory practice - FTI Consulting

Tom Crawford, who will lead the practice, said that in this new environment “companies must demonstrate their value to society, align with sovereign agendas, and create proof points that they are local businesses.”

"The way the world works now is that what you say in one place or the strategy you adopt in one area is being looked at by regulators, activists, NGOs, and other groups around the world," he said.

FTI clients who are expected to benefit from the new practice include Monsanto, Mastercard, and Mexico (in its ongoing NAFTA negotiations), said Crawford. "We are representing Mexico in the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations," he explained. "And you’re seeing the global forces at work there too. NAFTA would have traditionally been a very contained discussion between Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. Now it includes China."

"Obviously, Monsanto is facing lots of challenges in terms of reputation and regulatory issues around the world as well as legal entanglements - they have ongoing litigation," he said. "It still involves M&A work and you’re talking to shareholders about the value of the transaction. But at the same time you also have to get product renewals done that keep the value of the company in place."

Crawford was previously America’s head of Government Relations at FTI. He joined the firm’s senior leadership when it bought C2 Group, the political lobbying company he co-founded, in 2013. A noted policy wonk, he was the legislative director of the Michigan legislature before moving to D.C., and has lectured on insurance and tax across the country as part of the Smithsonian series.

“Our new global advisory practice under Tom’s leadership provides a valuable solution for companies by leveraging the FTI global platform, delivering bespoke stakeholder engagement and communications solutions, as well as producing results at scale,” said Mark McCall, expressing confidence in his new colleague.

Under McCall’s leadership, FTI’s Strategic Communications unit saw 2018’s first quarter revenue shoot up by a year-on-year increase of 20.7% to over $52 million. He recently appointed Tara Chandra as a senior director in the team. Elsewhere at FTI, nine new managing directors were appointed to the booming Business Transformation practice.


US tech consultancy Slalom to open Manchester office

19 April 2019

Slalom is on the move again, this time expanding its UK footprint. The American tech consulting firm has announced plans to open a Manchester office in which it will employ 200 staff by 2025. The firm, which opened a London office in 2014, was formerly known as Slalom Consulting until a 2015 rebranding.

The announcement of the Manchester move follows a January relocation of its more than 700 Chicago-based employees from its office in Chicago’s Prudential Plaza to Aon Center, the third-tallest building in the city. Slalom’s previous space at Prudential was separated between floors, causing inconvenience. The new space at Aon is a marked improvement, in addition to the sheer size difference, with the move nearly doubling the firm’s floor space. The space will also utilize hoteling (scheduled workspaces), project-based workspace, and flexible areas for events and education. Slalom also expanded into Canada in 2016, opening an office in Toronto.

Paul Squire, managing director of Slalom’s London location, will head up the Manchester office. “I’m excited about working with our clients in the North West of England, helping them to deliver people-centric change, bring strategic solutions to life, and ultimately, to love their future,” he said.

Slalom has been one of Fortune 100’s “Best Companies to Work For” for four consecutive years, and has partnerships with powerhouse organizations including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft, Salesforce, and Tableau. It employs more than 6,500 people in 29 offices across North America and the UK.US tech consultancy Slalom to open Manchester office“Manchester is a city of digital enterprise with a wide range of strengths across industries including manufacturing, healthcare, utilities and consumer services; which perfectly complements Slalom’s breadth of expertise,” Dave Williams, UK Country Managing Director, said. "We're looking forward to collaborating with clients to shape their internal capabilities, building a team and investing in the local community."

“Greater Manchester is a hotbed for collaboration and innovation, making it the ideal location for pioneering businesses like Slalom. There are strong complementarities between Slalom and Greater Manchester’s efforts to collaborate with companies going through digital transformation and supporting them to grow within the region. Establishing operations within one of Europe’s largest digital and technology clusters will provide the consultancy firm with ample opportunities to join forces with the rapidly increasing number of world-leading brands that are choosing Manchester,” Tim Newns, chief executive of Manchester’s inward investment agency, added.

In December 2018, the firm launched Slalom Build, a software and tech product “Build-as-a-service” offering that enables companies to build cloud-native software and tech products. While Slalom is headquartered in Seattle, Slalom Build centers can currently be found in Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, and Toronto.