Bain & Company’s CEO Embraces Leadership for a New Generation

As businesses around the world continue to ramp up growth, demand for consulting services is at an all-time high, with firms even having to turn down engagements due to a lack of capacity. With business booming, Bain and Company Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel “Manny” Maceda sat down with The Edge Singapore to talk about where the industry is headed, and what leadership of a new generation of consultants looks like.

In the early stages of the global COVID pandemic, business travel halted, and consulting – like many industries – had to rapidly adapt to the realities of remote work and virtual meetings. Since then, workers have expressed a strong preference to remain remote, with a large portion choosing to find new employers rather than return to the office. While many consulting firms have embraced a hybrid model to ensure staff retention, Maceda believes that certain aspects of the industry will stay true to the old ways.

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While personal interaction is a cornerstone of the consulting business, the CEO suggests the total number of trips may decrease while the agenda for each trip grows, as environmentally conscious corporations work to reduce their carbon footprint. Global uncertainty plays a role in Maceda’s view of the market’s future as well, with the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine introducing new variables, including food and energy costs, as well as the impact on its partners within Russia’s borders.

Business pressures are evolving as well, to include pressure from rank and file employees as well as the public to take a stand on wide-ranging social issues. According to Maceda, CEOs need to adopt a new definition of “value” beyond economic value delivered to shareholders. In order to recruit and retain talent that shares the same values as the companies they work for, business executives will have to ensure their people are heard, and can hear their leaders speaking to a greater purpose.

Maceda also discussed the potential for Bain’s growth in Southeast Asia, seeing strong potential in a region with key advantages and high demand for well-informed strategic advice. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Maceda feels good about the firm’s growth in the region and its potential.