Sydney-based Pollen Consultancy has merged with global firm Argon & Co in a bid to expand its presence in Asia and venture into servicing new sectors.
Announced today, the merger will combine Argon’s team of 16 in Australia & New Zealand (ANZ) with supply chain consultancy Pollen’s staff of 45 and bring the Levallois-Perret-based firm's total number of consultants worldwide to more than 400.
Pollen Consulting founder Paul Eastwood will become a managing partner of the ANZ branch, which will aim to expand its team by 66 per cent in four years while establishing Argon’s presence in Southeast Asia.
“Our vision is to take ANZ from a combined entity of about 60 to 100 people within the next four years. Beyond that, Pollen always had a vision to leverage itself up into Asia and use Australia as a platform for that,” Eastwood told Business News Australia.
“I have a remit to look and start to execute that growth model for Argon because that's a space where they are not yet sizable compared to their influence in Europe.
“The vision is to grow into Asia but Australia is our home and our key focus and this gives us the security to carry on that growth trajectory.”
To support Pollen’s new chapter private investors have sold their share in the business and received what Eastwood describes as a “healthy return”, giving Argon access to 30 per cent of the company.
Eastwood is optimistic, and views the merger as a prime opportunity to service new sectors.
“We're very deep in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) being a real core industry to us and we do a little bit of work in life sciences, industrial, manufacturing and retail," he said.
“Argo & Co are very strong in the other markets that we're looking to already move into, which gives us the ability to expand our service offering across some of the sectors.”
“We're really bringing some further horsepower to growing a global consultancy business.”
Over the last 18 months, Argon approached Pollen twice about the possibility for a partnership and were initially turned away as Eastwood was intent on chasing his own vision for the brand.
But when he realised the potential to be working alongside people “that have all been entrepreneurs and set up consultancies in the past” a dialogue between the two companies was sparked in June 2021.
“We had lots of approaches from businesses through the course of the last 12-18 months because we'd started to put Pollen on the map and build a reputation,” explained Eastwood.
“All of them felt like they wanted to take away what made us great - in terms of changes away from entrepreneurial spirited business that wants to carry on growing to probably joining and merging into a corporate. That never felt like the right home for the business we've created.”
“Once we listened to these guys, I naturally felt it gave me some peers to really work with and do something even more exciting than what we were trying to do here. I think that's what got us to the point of seeing it as a huge opportunity.”
Pollen’s new business partner was also a result of a merger that took place in April 2018 between Crimson & Co and Argon Consulting.
Since rebranding in September 2020, the company has established offices in Paris, London, Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Auckland, Chicago, Dusseldorf, Lausanne, Melbourne, Mumbai and Singapore.
“This represents another exciting step in Argon & Co’s expansion strategy,” Argon & Co CEO Yvan Salamon said.
“Pollen has made a big impact within the ANZ market, and we are pleased that they are joining Argon & Co. It will more than triple the number of consultants we have in Australia and New Zealand.”
By July, Pollen Consulting will also rebrand to join the Argon & Co umbrella. As part of the merger, the company will set up offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland.
“We were already relocating our offices in Sydney to a larger space, so that just proceeds as normal,” explained Eastwood.
“We have already introduced all the teams to each other last week.
“We are starting to work together as effectively as we can to service clients where there's opportunities to leverage each other's capability.”
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