Oliver Wyman's South Korea leader Joongho Park joins McKinsey

10 March 2021 Consultancy.asia 3 min. read

Former Oliver Wyman South Korea country head Joongho Park has joined rival management consulting firm McKinsey as a partner following the recent closure of Oliver Wyman’s local office.

McKinsey & Company, the world’s leading management consulting firm, has capitalised on the departure of high-level competitor Oliver Wyman in South Korea by recruiting the consultancy’s former country leader Joongho Park to its partnership team in Seoul. Park had spent a decade and a half with the local office of Oliver Wyman prior to its shuttering late last year in response to a reported decline in local revenue and engagements.

According to sources speaking off the record to the Korea Times, the Oliver Wyman office in Seoul has been devoid of staff since at least October last year, with a strong move among local companies toward developing in-house expertise given as one factor in the declining consulting market. In addition, the firm had already been subject to executive poaching, especially in respect to companies operating in the banking and financial space.

Joong-ho Park, Partner - McKinsey & Company

“Korean financial companies and big businesses have already hired many consultants and their foreign networks have been much stronger as they have become global enterprises having many offices worldwide,” said a top-tier management consulting executive on the basis of anonymity. “It has therefore been much more difficult for foreign consultancies with limited international networks to attract globalised financial institutions and businesses in Korea.”

So then now, the once head of Oliver Wyman for the past three or so years will be helping to lure the very same financial services clients back into the consulting fold, but this time as a partner for McKinsey. A business administration graduate of Seoul National University, Park originally earned partnership with Oliver Wyman in 2017 after joining the firm from an equity research assistant role with ABN AMRO and UBS eleven years prior.

McKinsey’s South Korean office is led by André Andonian, a three-decade company veteran.

Meanwhile, McKinsey yesterday elected the American Bob Sternfels as its new global managing partner. He was elected ahead of the Dutchman Sven Smit, and succeeds Kevin Sneader.

While Sternfels comes with a North American background, the firm’s past two leaders, Kevin Sneader and Dominic Barton, have both come via East Asia. Prior to his elevation to the top role in 2009, Barton served as managing partner for four years in McKinsey’s Korean office, which was originally established as a permanent base sometime around the early-90s amid the rush to conquer the then emerging market of East Asia.

Oliver Wyman meanwhile arrived on the scene 15-odd years later, and now follows in the footsteps of professional services giant Accenture, which was forced to depart the Korean market in 2016.