This summer time, Steve Payne was appointed EY Americas Vice Chair—Consulting, a place that oversees greater than 20,000 consultants centered on creating long-term worth for shoppers via sustainable, inclusive development. The function can be accountable for cultivating expertise and constructing high-performing groups to ship distinctive experiences for EY folks. Payne beforehand served because the International Chief for the EY-Parthenon technique consultancy in addition to the Transaction Technique and Execution International Chief. He succeeds Hank Prybylski, who was named EY International Vice Chair—Transformation. “I thrive on serving to folks and companies obtain their full potential, and I’m thrilled to steer this dynamic follow of proficient consultants as they collaborate with our shoppers to reframe their future,” says Payne. Payne has been advising top-tier establishments on operations administration for greater than 30 years. Drawing from intensive worldwide expertise in Europe and rising markets within the Americas and Asia-Pacific, he has delivered working capital enchancment packages for Fortune 100 shoppers. Previous to becoming a member of the agency in 2008, he was the CEO of a worldwide boutique consulting agency that centered on serving to corporations enhance money circulation from working capital through operational enchancment. Consulting caught up with Payne a number of weeks after his appointment to debate his new function, the brand new regular for shoppers and a brand new outlook for the career.
Consulting: So, to start with, congratulations on the brand new function! I’m positive this isn’t the way you deliberate to take over Consulting. Why don’t you discuss a bit of bit in regards to the transition from Hank to you, kind of the place you’re in that course of and the way the handoff happened?
Payne: So, the excellent news is, I’m not new to EY. Coming into the function, I used to be the Transaction Technique and Execution International Chief and one of many issues about EY is even in the event you sit in numerous service strains, while you go to a consumer you go as EY. So, within the 12 years I’ve been at EY, I’ve engaged rather a lot with the consulting aspect of the enterprise; we did rather a lot collectively. I knew loads of the companions, particularly across the engagements out there aspect. And I additionally knew Hank. He and I are totally different folks and can have totally different types, however I really feel lucky taking this baton from Hank. He’s been an amazing companion and good friend going via this. I like what each Hank and Bob Patton have been capable of do bringing the Consulting enterprise to the place it’s at present—$6.5 billion in 10 years. It’s a reasonably wonderful story. So, given the chance to take that on and take it to the subsequent degree has been nice. And Hank has been large by way of giving me assist, permitting me to take a seat in conferences as we undergo the transition. He’s been extraordinary beneficiant together with his time. That’s been very useful.
Consulting: Are there apparent variations by way of management types between you and Hank, and what do you carry to the brand new function?
Payne: I believe it’s principally how we interact with folks. Hank is a really sensible particular person, he’s a really considerate particular person I’m not saying that I’m not, however our personalities, in that approach, are a bit totally different. I don’t suppose I’ve as a lot formal training as others in EY, however that’s OK. I come at main a special approach: I encourage everybody to come back to the desk. Be trustworthy; be frank. They need to really feel completely comfy in saying something to me; I need straight discuss.
Consulting: So, you come at this from the Technique & Transaction enterprise, which is a special service line all collectively. Do you see that as a problem? Or possibly a bonus?
Payne: I see it as a bonus. The benefit I’ve obtained coming into this new is that I’m not invested in what’s been performed beforehand, I’m not invested within the choices which were made earlier than. And due to my totally different background—coming from the Technique & Transactions enterprise, being an Ops particular person, being in consulting for the reason that early ’90s and having run a boutique agency—I believe I’ve a barely totally different lens on issues. Plus, I are available in with a clear slate. One of many beauties of leaping service strains is that the expectations of individuals have been barely totally different. I haven’t grown up within the consulting service line. It’s given me a clear slate, a special alternative with the folks, and I see that as a bonus.
Consulting: So, what’s the standing of the consulting enterprise?
Payne: So, the excellent news is we’re very lucky that the portfolio of companies inside the consulting enterprise, and broadly inside EY, are very various. You recognize a few of the massive bets we’ve been making for the final variety of years are across the transformation agenda but in addition expertise and cybersecurity and methods integration. That hasn’t modified… possibly the tempo has modified, however we got here into the yr with an excellent backlog. That range within the portfolio has been excellent so there’s no want for us to panic over something, the enterprise has been secure and continues to be even on this COVID surroundings. So, our monetary efficiency stays very robust.
Consulting: What are a few of your objectives as you start this new function?
Payne: I’m attending to know the enterprise extra and getting an opportunity to satisfy many individuals so I’ve been a little bit of a sponge; I’m chatting with our shoppers, I’m chatting with our markets group, I’m chatting with our coordinating companions on the accounts, I’m chatting with our leaders contained in the consulting enterprise to get their suggestions. Asking a number of questions: What do you want? What do you suppose we may very well be doing in another way? How can we serve you? How can I serve you in another way? What steering can I offer you? What do you suppose are the issues we have to do? Inform me something and all the pieces that you just wish to inform me; don’t be shy, put all of it out on the desk. However I’m additionally ensuring that supporting all the pieces we’re doing as a agency is at first, once more, spending time with our folks to be sure that our persons are wholesome. Bodily, positive. Butt additionally mentally—COVID, and all that’s include it has caused massive modifications. In case you’re used to being on the highway and in entrance of your consumer you recognize, 10, 11, 12 hours a day, typically seven days every week, this can be a very tough transition to make.
Consulting: Yeah, that’s an under-appreciated facet to all of this. How are you dealing with that as a agency?
Payne: Properly, it’s additionally an amazing alternative for us to have a dialogue with our folks by way of how they work, in addition to future enterprise fashions. It’s additionally altering the way in which we work with our shoppers, however from a folks perspective, it’s essential that we’re ensuring we’re doing all the pieces we are able to to encourage folks to take their day off, encourage folks to go do bodily actions, encourage folks to handle themselves. We’re all going via loads of angst, proper now. And it’s impacting everybody in many alternative methods.
Consulting: How about from a consumer service perspective? How do you keep the extent of consumer service that you just had beforehand on this new surroundings that all of us hope is, is short-term, however proper now it actually doesn’t really feel short-term?
Payne: No, it doesn’t, does it? It’s gone on longer than I believe any of us initially thought, and I believe we may very well be sitting right here for numerous months longer. Really, I take a look at this a bit in another way in some methods. Everytime you go into a brand new function, proper there’s all the time challenges, all the time. And the concept that in three years once I retire, I believe I’ll be capable of look again in awe of we’ve been capable of accomplish. EY has moved 300,000 folks from work to working from residence, and our shoppers have performed the exact same factor. However on the finish of the day, this is a chance. There’s clearly some winners and losers on this surroundings proper from a sector perspective, however now going to the subsequent degree is: What can we do subsequent? I believe once we all shut down in March, all of us hoped we’d be again to regular by July. So now it’s a case of that is going to be a bit longer so how can we now begin altering our enterprise fashions in a extra structured approach? You see that with Google, Twitter and different folks saying: we’re by no means going to ask folks to come back again to the workplace once more. So, the long run working mannequin of our shoppers goes to alter.
So, the place can we go from right here? That’s actually the massive query. As a result of we all know that with each recession that’s taken place, the businesses who take the time to reshape their portfolios come out forward. The individuals who make investments extra capital expenditure into their enterprise, particularly round innovation, merchandise and options, come out stronger post-recession than those that didn’t do something. So, we’re telling shoppers there can be winners and losers, and you have to be a winner. I believe when all is alleged and performed, we’ll look again on this and say this time was a pivotal second in many alternative dimensions.