The Founding Partners Meet
Marcelo Berger, Gilberto Sarian, Andrea Aun, Carlos Lima, and Hugo Ribeiro – the founding partners
Andrea Aun, Carlos Lima, Gilberto Sarian, and Marcelo Berger, first met while all working at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) in 1988. Hugo Ribeiro was working at Value Partners, a spin off from McKinsey, at that time. They immediately shared and bonded over their passion for the consulting profession.
In the 1990’s, Andersen Consulting underwent a transformation in its business and chose to focus its strategy towards technology and Business Process Outsourcing. Consequently, there was a drastic change in the type of work, day-to-day reality of the consultants, and the company’s relationship with its clients. Although this transition proved very successful for Andersen, it awoke a desire in Integration’s Founding Partners to open their own business.
Integration Consulting is Formed
Our first office at Rua Urussuí – Itaim Bibi, São Paulo
It was then that Andrea, Carlos, Gilberto, Hugo and Marcelo joined together to analyze the consulting market. They made the decision to found Integration in 1995 in São Paulo, Brazil, and return to the type of work they really had a passion and vocation for: management consultancy. While completing their analysis of the consulting market and assessing each other’s talents, they determined to position Integration as a strategy, management and operations consultancy, with a differential in implementation.
Learning How to ‘Implement’
Knowledge: One of our first rituals
The Founding Partner’s concept of implementation was revolutionary in the Brazilian consultancy market, making them pioneers in this approach. But the first challenge they faced was "how to implement?"
Even though the idea and the theory were clear, no methodology existed for them to draw upon. That was not the typical role expected from a management consulting. Integration’s first client was essential in this sense, which is why the Founding Partners and Integration will always be grateful to Exxon Mobil.
The First Client
The consolidated document from the first project
Integration original business plan intended to address small and medium-sized companies in Brazil. But Exxon Mobil, who ended up being the company’s first client, was listed as the one of the highest market cap company in the world in 1995. And they brought the Founding Partners a challenging project: to design and implement a Go-To-Market strategy for the entry of their line of lubricants (Mobil 1) in Brazil.
A Successful First Project
It was unimaginable at that time how Exxon planned to sell lubricants for cars when they didn't even have gas stations in Brazil; in 1995 the brand had not yet opened their Esso-brand gas stations in the country. But, the Partners accepted the challenge, which generated a lot of work and resulted in Integration’s first successful case. And it really was a success!
When this video testimonial was recorded (2006), Renato Fontalva was Director at Exxon Mobil
The founding partners in front of our first brand
From that point on, Integration's way of implementing solutions began generating positive endorsements and resulting in recommendations to new clients. These references allowed the company to grow at a rate of 77 percent annually through the late 1990s.
More about the early years of Integration’s history can be read in the chapter "With the help of the Oracle" extracted from the book "How to make a company work in an uncertain country" (Endeavor - Editora Campus, 2005).
Exploring New Ventures
Our companies back in time
A very important decision marked the first years of the new millennium at Integration.
"If we want to implement our recommendations, we have to have experience in actually operating businesses!” said Marcelo Berger. This way of thinking was strongly disseminated among the Founding Partners, with Marcelo at the helm.
In 1998, the Partners took the decision to work in the development of their own companies, creating an internal structure that included venture capital projects.
Operating Our Own Cosmetics Business
An Ala Szerman's beauty encounter
The very first venture was a well-known Brazilian cosmetics company: Ala Szerman. Integration chose to acquire the entire business in 1997: their brands, formulae, access to the distribution channels, inventory. This marked the beginning of a second cycle in Integration’s history, which has been essential to our story. During the day, the Founding Partners worked as consultants for Integration, and at night and on weekends, they took over as Ala Szerman executives.
To balance these responsibilities, Marcelo became the CEO of Ala Szerman and left consulting to dedicate himself to the cosmetics business. Andrea Aun was responsible for marketing; Carlos Lima for sales; Gilberto Sarian for supply chain and logistics; and Hugo Ribeiro for finance.
Together, they spent five years managing Ala Szerman, which was equivalent, in many ways, to a “real life” MBA in terms of the lessons they learned. There were many pains and accomplishments—experiences that made Andrea, Carlos, Gilberto, Hugo and Marcelo, after selling the company, even more prepared to continue with their passion for consulting through Integration.
Building a Software Start-Up
The team at Xplan
A new entrepreneurial venture arrived in the following year. This time, it was a greenfield. It was named XPlan, an internet-based technology solution for demand planning and integration of supply chain, that supported many projects for Integration´s clients.
The business was proposed by Rodrigo Griesi – a director of Integration´s Supply Chain practice at the time – and the Founding Partners agreed on creating a new company where Rodrigo was one of the Partners. Xplan developed its proprietary solution based on the needs of Grupo Suzano’s distributor company, SPP, who knew Integration well and agreed to be a partner in this undertaking—another relationship of which Integration is still very proud.
The solution soon became a market success, as it was developed based on the practical needs of the companies with whom Integration had already worked, as well as our technical knowledge of supply chain and S&OP in particular. After three years in operation, XPlan became linked to Intergraph (Sisgraph), a large technology company in Brazil. The business expanded, and in the next year was sold to Datasul (now Neogrid) – an even larger technology group in Brazil.
A Third and Final Venture
A few years later, there was a third venture: a below-the-line communications agency called Samurai, which also turned out to be a success in the Brazilian market. Similar to XPlan it was a greenfield venture, in partnership with a manager at Integration, Rodrigo Helcer which ended with Samurai being incorporated by Momentum do Brasil, a company that belonged to Interpublic Group, in 2011. This was the last business Integration developed inside its venture capital initiative.
A day at Samurai
Until 2005, which was a very important and decisive moment in our history, the Founding Partners were constantly asking themselves, “Do we want to continue with other businesses? Or is the experience we have gained, which we needed to understand what really makes businesses happen, enough?”
In Ala Szerman and Xplan, Marcelo Berger had taken the lead and it was at this point that Marcelo Berger decided to continue with venture capital and private equity initiatives and created his own company, Trigger Participações, in Brazil. Andrea Aun, Carlos Lima, Gilberto Sarian and Hugo Ribeiro de Almeida chose to continue with their passion for consulting.
A Complete Concentration on Consulting
Focus on Consulting
Integration then began a new era completely focused on consulting, with a new strength that was reinforced by the lessons the Founding Partners gained from their forays into venture capital. Following this new era, the decision was made to turn Integration into a business modelled on partnership.
Integration’s growth in Brazil was steady, remaining between 50 to 70 percent each year. The Founding Partners consolidated Integration as a respectable brand in Brazil and began focusing on new initiatives:
Strengthening Focus and Knowledge in Implementation
The founding partners with Paula Mercadante (center)
Paula Mercadante joined Integration in 2005 as the Partner responsible for the company’s Implementation Practice, bringing with her an in-depth knowledge of highly complex project implementation across several sectors and regions of the world. This partnership was an essential contribution to the consolidation of this new practice.
Integration also deepened its knowledge of training and qualification during this period, through courses outside of Brazil focused on andragogy – the science of teaching adults. The company has since benefited from a deep understanding of how to train and pass on knowledge in our projects.
Similarly, Integration has also spent a significant amount of time studying change management and stakeholder management, resulting in what we refer to as “Integration People.”
Signed contract for our first international office at Ciudad de México
Integration's growth continued to be strong in Brazil. Several projects were delivered outside of Brazil for multinational companies who had previous experience with us and asked us to replicate our work in other countries in Latin America. It was, definitely, a strong call to action: when your Clients want you to do more for them, you do it!
But these projects were always executed by consultants from the São Paulo, and questions about whether to expand into other countries began to surface as a strong element in our strategic discussions. Our Partners continually asked, "Can the model in which we work be expanded regionally? Or is it adherent only to the Brazilian reality? Can we replicate this method and professional profile in other countries?"
Ultimately, the decision was made to invest in two additional markets within Latin America: Mexico and Argentina.
Opening Our Mexico Office
Gerard Schoor, Carlos Lima, Andrea Aun, Laura Gé, Hugo Ribeiro de Almeida and Gilberto Sarian
Gerard Schoor, Carlos Lima, Andrea Aun, Laura Gé, Hugo Ribeiro de Almeida and Gilberto Sarian
We are very grateful to Unilever for bringing us to Mexico! It was with through them that we began our first project in Mexico—a very enriching integration project. Unilever Mexico had purchased a margarine company called Marga Carrancedo, and we had the honour of being chosen to develop this Post-Merger Integration.
From then on, our growth in these new regions followed a similar trajectory to our history in Brazil: Integration’s work and reputation spread by word of mouth and the endorsements from our clients, which opened doors in other companies, such as Reckitt Benckiser, Diageo and Mastercard. From the Mexican Operation, we have been serving clients in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and the United States with great success.
In 2008 we were confident enough to integrate a local Partner: that is when we met Gerard Schoor. We were very happy to have our invitation for Gerard to become a Partner at Integration, leading our operations in Mexico, accepted by him.
As Managing Partner and President of Integration Mexico, Gerard brought his vast experience in the international market and focus on industrial management in large global companies to add substantial to our business and even more knowledge to our expertise in consulting.
And then our Argentina Office
Contract sign for the Argentina's office
Renovations at the Argentina office Our gratitude in Argentina goes to Sadia (now BRF), the company that opened the door for us to develop our first project in the country.
We were also proud to serve large local clients, such as FEMSA, Nokia, Cadbury and Arcos Dorados.
A very important milestone for the Argentina Operation was the entry of Laura Gé in 2007 as a Managing Partner at Integration, and President of the Southern Cone operations.
In 2010, Integration was already drawing upon the experience of seven Managing Partners in three countries, making our dreams of internationalization and a real partnership come true. Laura Gé, Gerard Schoor and Paula Mercadante joined Andrea Aun, Carlos Lima, Gilberto Sarian and Hugo Ribeiro de Almeida on the company's leadership board.
Next Came the Chile Office
The success of the offices in Mexico and Argentina led us to open one in Santiago in 2008. Of the countries in Latin America, Chile has the largest penetration in consultancy and is a mature market that requires local knowledge.
Unilever was our first client in the country, again giving us the opportunity to introduce our work to the region. And, once again, we are extremely grateful!
Our ability to grow internationally must also be credited to the professionals who participated in the start-up cycle for each of our new offices. In the first years of each new operation, we had professionals transferred and living in the different countries to ensure each office was imbued with Integration’s culture and method.
Integration is grateful for the dedication and high quality work of these professionals who led the effort of opening our offices in Latin America: Janaina Betteley, for Mexico, Argentina – and, most recently, the UK offices; Luis Carlos Vidal, who led Mexico for five years; Marcos Novoa y Novoa, who was also dedicated to make our Mexico office a reality, and played a very important role in it; Marcelo Roma, who worked in Argentina and the UK; Rodrigo Seabra, who also had an essential role in Mexico and is now the Partner in charge of our German operation; and Rafael Pinto, who participated in the development of the Chile office.
Each of you played a relevant role and is part of our history in this very special chapter.
Going to Europe
Our Partners and Directors at London
To grow outside Latin America and establish ourselves truly as an international player, we took an important step in 2010: the opening of our office in London. This expansion was carefully considered, with thorough internal analyses.
The expansion to Europe called the attention of Pedro Zanni, professor and doctoral student in one of the top universities in Latin America, Fundação Getulio Vargas. He carried out an internationalization case study about Integration, published in 2013.
Our London Office
This move also marked the start of a new cycle for Integration—an important step during which we learned a lot. And we see we have achieved some great accomplishments. Since its opening, the London office has grown a lot both quantitatively (the number of consultants and revenue), and qualitatively (client repurchase, recruiting, adapting our method to the reality of the market). Today, we are proud to serve corporations in Europe, such as Diageo, Red Bull, Monsanto, Sara Lee, L’Oreal and BRF, in 60+ countries.
Martin Wing (center) with Integration's board
In 2013, a new Managing Partner joined our team to lead the UK Operation: Martin Wing, a British executive with experience in consultancy in Europe, and a board member of the Management Consultancies Association in the UK. Martin took over as Managing Partner of the London office and guided the team to the next level.
Expansion to Germany
Sophie Herrmann, Andrea Aun, Paula Mercadante, Laura Gé, Amélia de Carvalho e Silva, and Janaina Bettley at Munich
AIn 2015, we took yet another step in our international expansion efforts: to support our clients in the DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) region, we opened our German office in Munich, with Rodrigo Seabra as Partner of the operation. The efforts we put in place to hire a local leadership started with the Director Sophie Herrmann, and since then we continue to grow our operation with local professionals.
We are growing in the market, and we maintain the same entrepreneurial spirit and love for consulting that we had when we opened our first office in Sao Paulo, in 1995.
A Place to Grow
Luis Carlos Vidal, Francisco Pereira Leite and Leonardo Zylberman
In 2013, Francisco Pereira Leite, Leonardo Zylberman and Luis Carlos Vidal became the first Directors to be named Managing Partners, after climbing the rungs of our career development ladder. These three professionals joined the company as Analysts in 1999, so their achievement and evolution in becoming Managing Partners was an incredibly symbolic moment for Integration—they were the first ones to make the full journey from our entry-level positions to becoming a part of our teams of Partners.
Developing Our Knowledge Management Area
Due to our well-structured European base, we then sought to hire a Knowledge Management specialist, which we found in Alison Gamble, who joined the company to develop our Knowledge Management area. Knowledge Management became our first Competence Center – area that provides global support to all our consultants – by bringing internal and external knowledge to our proposals and projects.
Alison Gamble has a degree in English and History from Keele University, and an M.Sc. in Information Science from City University. Before joining Integration, she was Head of Knowledge Management at the Brunswick Group, a Corporate Communications agency. There, she implemented a Knowledge Management system, which included developing the technical platform, key processes and culture necessary to create a knowledge-sharing culture. Previously, Alison worked in Saudi Arabia for Baker & McKenzie, where she set up the Knowledge Management function for their Gulf offices, and as a legal and business researcher in she worked in predominantly global law firms.
Additions to our Partnership team
Augusto Ribeiro, Janaina Betteley and Rodrigo Seabra
In 2016, we experienced another important moment. Augusto Ribeiro, Janaina Betteley and Rodrigo Seabra were invited to become Partners after having spent most of their professional careers at Integration.
Augusto Ribeiro joined as a Partner responsible for the Marketing & Sales practice; Janaina Betteley co-led the United Kingdom office; and Rodrigo Seabra took the lead of our DACH operations, based in Munich, Germany.
Also, in 2016, Laura Gé, the Partner who led the Southern Cone Operation for nearly 10 years, left Integration. We are eternally grateful to Laura for all the work she did. Without a doubt, her work was key to the positioning and growth of the Integration brand in Argentina.
In the United Kingdom, Martin Wing similarly ended an important three-year cycle during which he, too, made a mark on the company, helping us to acclimate to British culture.
Launch of the New Leadership and Organizations (L&O) Practice
Since our foundation, Integration has believed that to develop an organization, strengthening of its work environment and its professionals is key.
Understanding and respect for corporate culture, as well as paying attention to the qualities each professional can add to the objectives of the business, are characteristics of Integration’s work.
In 2017, we launched our new Leadership & Organizations area, representing not only the consolidation of our 22 years of experience, but also a leap forward in the methodologies and technologies available for the identification and improvement of professional profiles, teams and organizational environments – including the licensing of Factor Humanus Scientia solutions.
Our Leadership & Organization team with Prof. and Master Amélia de Carvalho e Silva, founder and CEO of Factor Humanus Scientia.
A Scientific Foundation for L&O
Working in this Leadership & Organizations practice requires a scientific foundation, and to accomplish that, we sought licensing of ID One® solutions developed by Factor Humanus Scientia.
ID One® Accredited Centre team
The ID One® – Human Factor methodology has been applied for over 30 years with excellent results in the advancement of individual performance, teams and organizations; and we ourselves had been applying this methodology internally from many years also, confirming in practice its excellent and efficiency.
In June 2016, Integration was honored to announce the licensing of three ID One® Human Factor Methodology Solutions: ID One® Core, ID One® Reach and ID One® Connect. In 2019 this was followed by ID One® Advance and ID One® Engage.
We are extremely honored by the scientists behind the ID One® solutions Prof. and Master Amélia de Carvalho e Silva and Dr. Luís Antonio Ervolino (in memoriam), for having trusted Integration with the licensing of the application—the first agreement of the Human Factors Scientia. Without a doubt, this methodology has immense implications, as it can advance the professional development of our clients and their professionals.
Integration Welcomes a New Partner to Lead the L&O Practice
In relation to the start of the Leadership & Organizations practice, we also marked another much-anticipated milestone—the entry of another new Partner, Renata Moura, who began leading and building the area in May 2016.
Different from other members of the board, Renata spent most of her career at other companies, and she came to us with 25 years of outside professional experience. She has a Law degree, an MBA in Operations from IE Business School, and additional specializations from Fundação Dom Cabral (FDC/Insead) and COPPEAD/RJ.
Strengthening the Partnership Further
In 2018, Integration marked yet another important moment with the addition of Alejandro Martinez as a Partner in Mexico. Alejandro held the same position at A.T. Kearney for 20 years before joining us, and he works alongside Gerard Schoor in our Mexico operation, which is now more than prepared to support the challenges of our clients in the region.
Expanding to the U.S.
Stephen Fournier, Rodrigo Pasianotto, and Matt Suggett at the U.S. operation
In 2018, we took another step in establishing ourselves as an international player by launching our first office in the United States in San Francisco. Formally entering the U.S. was a momentous and integral step in our growth as a global company.
In 2019 this was followed by the opening of our Chicago office. This office enhances our ability to serve clients across North America from a central Midwest hub, and expand our relationships with companies, universities and other partners in the immediate region.
This video marks the moment we ‘cut the tape’ on our new office.
New Local Partners Strengthen Integration
Gary’s entry marked a new phase of growth for Integration in the U.S., where we focused on increasing our size to meet growing demand for our services. Gary’s years of experience in the consumer products industry and his specialization in marketing and sales projects are well-aligned with the profile of Integration’s consultants and international expansion movement.
Prior to joining Integration, Gary Singer spent 25 years as a partner with Accenture and most recently EY. In these roles, Gary led the Global Trade Promotion and Sales Effectiveness practices, respectively, working across the consumer products industry and others. Gary began his career as a marketing analyst at Procter & Gamble.
Jamie’s entry similarly marked an important moment for Integration in its expansion internationally, bringing a local partner to the UK office to meet growing demand. Jamie’s vast professional experience in the consultancy sector, especially in strategic and international projects, is well aligned with Integration’s consultants and our international expansion movement.
Prior to joining Integration, Jamie Gale was a partner at Arthur D. Little, where he helped launch and drive a specialist, cross-sector practice focused on digital problem-solving. He also served as a partner at Atos Consulting, working with clients across the manufacturing, retail and transport sectors to improve operational performance, and design and execute against customer experience, IT and digital strategies, reduce spending and improve safety. Jamie spent two years as head of aviation at Fujitsu Services as well, and more than doubled the size of the business sector for the company during that time.
Integration’s 25th Anniversary
In the blink of an eye 25 years have passed.
It has been 25 years of lessons learned, achievements, mistakes, development, honors and passion...
It has been 25 years of trying to work and implement the 7 Ethical Principles*: respect, dignity, justice, cooperation, simplicity, honesty and truth, with our clients and our professionals.
It has been 25 years discovering our love for supporting companies to achieve their goals, helping them to implement their projects, understanding deeply the challenges, the opportunities, and delivering our best for each project we were hired!
Since 1995, we have worked on more than 2795 projects, we assisted more than 730 clients, 9 offices, we delivered projects in 81 countries, 1.236 professionals working with us during these years and 25 more years to come and we are hopeful and excited for it!
Thank you for everyone who helped us to reach this milestone! it!
*Values based on the Ethical Principles, according to the authors: Dr. Luís Antonio Ervolino and Prof. Amélia de Carvalho e Silva
Our 25th anniversary celebration video
Today, Integration is proud to be home to 17 partners, 10 directors, 35 managers – totalling 62 professionals in the company’s leadership.
Rising from the Grassroots
In 2020 we were delighted to announce the promotion of two special professionals, who were already longstanding members of Integration’s team, to become Partners: João Barros & Roger Saltiel.
João Barros joined Integration in 2006 as a junior consultant. He experienced a variety of business segments, and found his strength in Supply Chain, with projects ranging from designing supply chain strategies, reconstructing operations directorates, delivering manufacturing efficiency and re-thinking logistics operations.
Roger Saltiel started at Integration in Marketing & Sales in 2002. Over many years, he has led projects related to the Indirect Channel, Market Scan and Definition of Go-to-Market Models, working in the most diverse sectors. His projects have taken him to Brazil, the United States, Latin America and Europe, contributing to a solid international experience. He is a member of the Brazilian Association of Wholesalers and Distributors (ABAD), serving on the leadership of the Indirect Channel Committee.
See the moment both discovered they were promoted to partners
Launch of our Sustainability Competence Center
Daniel Lentfer and Marloes van der Meer – heads of sustainability inside Integration
Since our foundation 25 years ago, Integration’s mission has been to leave a positive legacy in all that we do.
The business landscape over the last 25 years has changed significantly and today sustainability issues are increasingly important as they fundamentally change how businesses operate.
Integration believes that Sustainability needs to be embedded as part of a company’s business strategy to allow companies to operate as part of a bigger system, create resilience, and safeguard their reputation.
Critically, Sustainability will also allow businesses to leverage the many opportunities which the topic brings to rethink business models, innovate, and stand out to consumers and clients who want to identify with Sustainable brands.
Our new area will support our functional experts to add environmental and social dimensions to our projects allowing for a sustainable business transformation. At the same time, the Sustainability team is working to bring awareness of the topic to employees and is committed to continuously improving our own footprint.
Best Supply Chain Consultancy Award
Integration won Best Supply Chain Consultancy at the 2016 Inbrasc Awards, which is sponsored by the Brazilian Supply Chain Institute. The award honors companies for completing innovative, results-driven projects with their clients, and winners are selected from a comprehensive list of businesses in the Supply Chain and Purchasing sectors in Brazil.
MCA Awards 2017
Best Project of the Year
From a selection of more than 1,000 projects, with 60 finalists spread across 25 categories, Integration was honored with two awards in 2017 from the prestigious Management Consultancies Association (MCA). In partnership with the Department of Investments and Trade (DIT) of the UK government, Integration won Best Change Management Project in the Public Sector, and also the highest of the MCA’s coveted awards: Best Project of 2017! Never in the history of the organization has a Brazilian-born company come close to this accomplishment, and we are extremely proud of this achievement.
Best Supply Chain Consultancy Award #2
For the second year in a row, Integration won Best Supply Chain Consultancy of 2017!
UK’s Leading Management Consultants
Integration Ranked Among Top Consultancies in the United Kingdom.
In the January 2018 Financial Times’ special edition, Integration was named among the “UK’s Leading Management Consultants.” The well-known business and economics newspaper compiled its listing in partnership with Statista, who compiled a list of 188 leading consulting companies across multiple sectors. Integration received a four-star ranking and was mentioned in two sector categories.
Best Supply Chain Consultancy Award #3
Integration was awarded the 2018 Inbrasc Award for Best Supply Chain Consulting Firm for the third year in a row. The Inbrasc Awards are organized by the Brazilian Institute of Supply Chain. Integration was nominated to the “Suppliers of the Year” category by market professionals, and selected as this year’s winner by Live University’s executive and deliberative committees.
UK’s Leading Management Consultants
Listing of Client and Peer-Recommended Consultancies in the United Kingdom.
The UK’s Leading Management Consultants 2019, published as a special report on January 30, 2019, by the British newspaper, the Financial Times, in partnership with the German research group Statista. The listing includes 198 of the most frequently recommended management consultancies in the region. Integration was acknowledged in the categories of Sales & Customer Relationship Management, and Finance, Risk & Compliance.