Executive Summary

This year's list of management consulting firms features a new No. 1: Deloitte & Touche Consulting Group, which moved up from its No. 2 ranking last year. It accomplished that by more than doubling its full-time consulting staff in the L.A. area, now at 863.

Mergers have affected the consulting industry worldwide and in Los Angeles. Last year's merger of Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand produced this year's No. 5-ranked firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, which employs 721 consultants locally. In February, KPMG Peat Marwick and Ernst & Young called off their planned merger, primarily because they did not believe the deal would receive regulatory approval.

Only three of the top 25 firms did not increase their consulting staff in L.A. County over the past year. Information technology is the fastest-growing area of consulting, supplanting more typical areas such as change management, strategy and investment. According to Kennedy Research Group, 70 percent of all consulting will be related to information technology by the year 2000.

The Pacesetter

Deloitte & Touche Consulting Group vaulted to the top of the management consulting firms list this year by more than doubling its staff of L.A.-area consultants. The consulting division of the Wilton, Conn.-based "Big Five" accounting firm employs 863 full-time consultants in L.A. County, up from 401 last year.

Managing Director Lois Evans said an aggressive growth strategy and increased business in all the firm's consulting areas accounted for the growth. Evans said the two biggest sources of growth were middle-market clients and the information technology practice.

Deloitte & Touche has traditionally targeted very large, multinational companies, but has been reaching out to mid-sized companies not usually served by large consulting firms. The firm's information technology practice provides services like client/server solutions and systems integration for clients in all industries. This business is booming, Evans said, as companies continue to turn to technology to improve customer service and efficiency.

As is the case with many consulting firms, Deloitte & Touche's biggest challenge is finding qualified employees with technology expertise. Evans has hired more recruiters and is focused on maintaining the firm's high employee retention rate in order to meet a goal of 35 percent growth this year. In L.A. County, Deloitte & Touche's consulting practice is split between consultants working in the information technology practice and other areas, including strategy, change leadership and finance. Major L.A. County clients include Kaiser Permanente, Northrop Grumman Corp., Boeing Co. and Nissan Motor Co.

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