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Here, we will share some of what we have experienced over the past two-and-a-half decades, but we are always available for those who want to know more. We look forward to speaking with you!
The Founding Partners of Integration, Andrea Aun, Carlos Lima, Gilberto Sarian and Marcelo Berger, first met while all working at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) in 1988. They immediately shared and bonded over their passion for the consulting profession.
In 1990, Andersen Consulting underwent a transformation in its business and began to focus more on technology and Business Process Outsourcing. At this time, 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.
It was then that Andrea, Carlos, Gilberto 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: business 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.
The Founding Partner’s concept of implementation was revolutionary in the Brazilian consultancy market, making them pioneers in this approach.
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. Integration’s first client was essential in this sense, which is why the Founding Partners and Integration will always be grateful to Exxon Mobil .
Integration originally decided to test a methodology for implementation in a medium-sized company. But Exxon Móbil, who ended up being the company’s first client, was the largest company in the world in 1995. And they brought the Founding Partners a challenging project: a Go-To-Market strategy for the entry of their line of lubricants (Mobil 1) in Brazil. 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! (See video below.)
When this video testimonial was recorded, Renato Foltalva was Director at Exxon Mobil.
Currently, he is working at Comma Oil & Chemicals Ltda.
From that point on, Integration's way of implementing solutions began to generate talk, and result in recommendations from clients. These references allowed the company to grow at a rate of 77 percent annually through the late 1990s.
In 1997, Hugo Ribeiro de Almeida joined Integration. Hugo had been following the founding and development of the company during its first two years, and he was always a welcome presence, but he chose to complete his MBA at Harvard University before officially joining the company and completing Integration’s team of Founding Partners.
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).
Marcelo Berger, Hugo Ribeiro, Andrea Aun, Gilberto Sarian and Carlos Lima
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 operating businesses!” said Marcelo Berger. This way of thinking was strongly disseminated among the Founding Partners, with Marcelo at the helm.
The Partners then made the decision to also do work in developing their own companies, creating an internal structure that included venture capital projects.
By the end of 1998, they had made their first start in this vein—Integration bought the well-known cosmetics company, Ala Szerman, acquiring everything in the process: brands, franchises, distributors, 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 President 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 logistics; and Hugo Ribeiro de Almeida 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 scares, growing 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.
New entrepreneurial ventures also came. One of them was the development of a solution for the planning and integration of supply chain projects, called XPlan. The Partners developed this solution based on the needs of Grupo Suzano’s distributing 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 dynamics. After three years in operation, XPlan became linked to Intergraph (Sisgraph), expanded, and in the next year was sold to Datasul (now Totvs).
A third business, a below-the-radar communications agency called Samurai, was a huge success case in the Brazilian market. In a story with a similar ending to XPlan, Samurai was incorporated by Momentum do Brasil, a company belonging to Interpublic Group, in 2011. This was the last business Integration acquired inside its venture capital initiative.
In all these businesses, Marcelo Berger was the leader. 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 the end, Marcelo Berger decided to continue with endeavors into new businesses, and Andrea Aun, Carlos Lima, Gilberto Sarian and Hugo Ribeiro de Almeida chose to continue with 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 modeled 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
During this time, Paula Mercadante joined Integration 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 how adults learn). The company has since benefited from a deep understanding of how to train and pass on knowledge in our projects—what we now call “Integration Learning.”
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.”
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 to us to replicate our work in other countries in Latin America.
But these projects were always executed by consultants from the São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro offices, 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.
We are also very grateful to Unilever! 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 honor 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 recommendations of our clients, which opened doors in other companies, such as Reckitt Benckiser, Diageo and Mastercard. From the Mexico Operation, we have since been serving clients in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and the United States with great success.
And from 2008 to now, we have direct involvement of Gerard Schoor to thank.
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.
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 the local President of South American operations outside of Brazil.
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.
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 travel and live in the different countries to ensure each office was imbued with Integration’s culture and methodology.
Here, we want to acknowledge some of them: Janaina Betteley, who was responsible for Mexico, Argentina and now the UK); Luis Carlos Vidal, who led Mexico for five years; Marcos Novoa y Novoa, who was also positioned in Mexico and played an important role in this story; Marcelo Roma, who worked in Argentina and the UK; Rodrigo Seabra, who also had an essential role in Mexico and is now beginning to write Integration's story in Germany; and Rafael Pinto, who participated in the development of the Chile office.
To everyone listed here, we are grateful! Each of you was a part of our history in this very special chapter.
Going to Europe
To grow outside the Americas and establish ourselves truly as an international player, we took an important step in 2010: the opening of our London office. This expansion was considered carefully, and preceded by an internationalisation case study carried out by Pedro Zanni, professor and doctoral student in one of the top universities in Latin America, Fundação Getulio Vargas. This move also marked the start of a new cycle for Integration—an important step during which we are learning, but have already marked some great accomplishments.
Since its foundation, 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, LÓreal and BRF, in more than 63 countries.
In 2013, a new Managing Partner joined our team to lead the Europe Operation: Martin Wing, a British executive with experience in consultancy in Europe, and a board member of the Management Consultancies Association. Martin took over as Managing Partner of the London office and guided the team to the next level.
In 2015, we took yet another step in our international expansion efforts: To support our DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) region clients, we opened our Germany office in Munich. We are still continuing with the expansion process in Germany by recruiting and building a local team, and we now have Director Sophie Herrmann in place.
We are carrying on with the day-to-day of our Germany Operation “case.” 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. And, we now have mature operations in Brazil and Mexico, start-ups in the UK and Germany—and we have many more stories to write!
A Place to Grow
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 our Integration—they were the first to make the full journey from our entry-level positions to becoming a part of our leadership.
Our partnership model became complete with the remaining Managing Partners through lateral
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.
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
In 2016, we experienced another important moment. Augusto Ribeiro, Janaina Betteley and Rodrigo Seabra were promoted to Partner after having spent most of their professional careers at Integration.
Augusto joins as a Partner responsible for the Marketing & Sales practice; Janaina leads the United Kingdom office; and Rodrigo is responsible for the Munich, Germany Operation.
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.
Integration Launches New Human Factors and Organizations Practice
Since our founding, Integration has believed that to develop an organization, strengthening of its work environment and its professionals as individuals is a 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.
With this in mind, in 2017, we launched our new Human Factors & 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.
Integration received its seal of approval for this area from the Licensed Center for the Application of the ID One Core® IPP solution developed by Factor Humanus Scientia.
Working in this Human Factors & Organizations practice requires a scientific foundation, and to accomplish that, we sought licensing of the ID One Core® IPP (Inner Professional Profile) from Factor Humanus Scientia. The ID One – Human Factor methodology has been applied over the past 30 years with excellent results in the advancement of individual performance, teams and organizations.
Integration has been applying this methodology internally for almost two decades, confirming in practice its excellent and efficiency. A little more than a year ago, we signed a licensing contract with Factor Humanus Scientia and trained a dedicated a team of qualified professionals to apply the ID One Core® IPP to our client base. This service is now available through our operation in Brazil.
e are extremely honored by the authors of the ID One Core® IPP, 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 is capable of advancing the professional development of our clients and their professionals.
Integration Welcomes a New Partner to Lead the Human Factors & Organizations Practice
In relation to the start of the Human Factors & 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.
Our most recent addition
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.
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. is a momentous and integral step in our growth as a global company.
Today, Integration is proud to be home to 14 Partners, 12 Directors and 35 Managers, totaling 61 professionals in the company’s leadership
Over the course of our history, Integration has been honored and acknowledged internationally for our work. Below, a list of awards and rankings we are proud to have received:
Inbrasc 2016 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
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, 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 company come close to this accomplishment, and we are extremely proud of this achievement.
Inbrasc 2017 Award
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.
Inbrasc 2018 Award
Integration has been 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.