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There are some firms that slip out of mainstream perception, which has been Mars & Co’s case for a few years. Seven years ago, this firm founded in Paris in 1979 by Dominique Mars, former managing director for BCG (and the youngest partner ever elected there), was making headlines for being tasked with grading Nicolas Sarkozy’s ministers. Today it is made up of 40-odd consultants in France, 200 worldwide, with offices in London, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai and Tokyo.

The firm’s main peculiarity is that it only works with one client per sector, so as to avoid any conflicts of interest. This is also a real limitation for consultants who often work with the same companies. This characteristic was nonetheless an asset during tough times, when loyal clients helped maintain operations. For some clients this “retainer” system with days being purchased in advance each year is said to verge on service delegation.

Career evolution is limited since the firm is not structured as a partnership: capital is entirely within the hands of its founder, Dominique Mars.

Despite all this, Mars & Co is still a resounding success, in terms of both growth and positioning. As far as staffing numbers go, it remains one of the leading French firms internationally, perhaps even the first.

Nonetheless, the firm is not really known for its HR policies (which are governed by Mrs. Mars) and tends to make its consultants carry very heavy loads. And although the company’s consultants are recognized for their mastery of numbers, they sometimes encounter very real difficulties adapting to the culture of other general management practices, notably because they are seldom exposed to clients.

Dominique Mars’ succession remains to this day a taboo subject, the boss seemingly having no intention of passing on his baby.

The firm is highly secretive and does not much like being spoken of. As it conveyed to us through its lawyers.

7 Vice-Presidents:

  • Filippo Maria Ciarletti
  • Jacques Popper
  • Jean-Marie Hennes
  • Fabien Jacquot
  • Laurent Julia
  • Olivier Favre
  • Hervé Leny

Updated: October 2015

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