From our modest beginnings on Maddox Street, W1 (a postcode we have never left) in a walk up office, with a broken window and sharing one internet cable, who would have thought we would be still around ten years later? And yes, that is where the company got its name, after a lengthy process of exploring other options and then deciding that “Maddox Consulting” fit the bill. Although our current digs are now a bit more substantive and the internet works (most of the time), our firm’s values and goal for quality work remain the same as in 2001 when Managing Director Tony Davis set out to create a firm to address significant strategic/investment issues for leading clients, and where staff could “take our work seriously, but not ourselves.” After 10 years of making our ethos work, we are now looking forward to the next decade. Our analytically rigorous approach teamed with our open-book attitude to dealing with clients has earned us significant repeat and new business over the years, as has our willingness to tackle “business not as usual” issues. We are extremely grateful to our clients, and to our staff – they are the core value of the firm. Some of our highlights from the past 10 years:
- We are fortunate to count as our clients some of the leading UK and international companies, as well as private equity firms and infrastructure funds. Most of these are long-standing clients, with deep rewarding relationships developed over the course of many years. To name but a few: National Express; Stagecoach; First Group; ICRRL/Eurostar; BA; BT and BT Openreach; Macquarie; PPM Capital; Hutchison 3G; Exponent PE; JP Morgan PE; Siemens; Bombardier; MTR Hong Kong; Avis Europe; Ryman; Paramount Restaurants; InBev/Interbrew; John Lewis Partnership; Jessops; DeBeers; and the Carbon Trust. Our first ever client accounted for the vast majority of our revenue in the first two years, and remains a client.
- We started out focusing on strategy and transactions work for transport, mainly service providers. Now, our work has expanded to include equipment and infrastructure; travel and leisure (car rental, reservation systems, to pubs and restaurants); some telco/media and retail; and a significant practice in environment / climate change
- We have worked in over 20 countries and 4 continents including Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the US and recently China.
- Tony first recruited two of his ex-L.E.K. colleagues, Richard Kendall and Ally Charlton to work on the first projects with National Express in 2001.
- Rebecca McPhee, now Director and Head of our Environmental Practice, joined a year later in 2002. Some her favourite memories at Maddox include:
- Watching internationally ranked Gary/Mildred dance, and Grade 8 Susie sing, and realising that she was perhaps the least talented member of Maddox (outside work)
- An autumnal drive across the Hudson Valley in a huge, unwieldy American car because the hedge fund with which we were trying to buy a US airport thought they all took priority on places on the corporate jet – leaving the young English lady new to town to fend for herself
- For many years being able to boast a 100% winning record on rail franchise bids
- Many of our staff have joined us as an alternative to traditional consulting firms; others as a transition point after Business School or as a way to pursue other interests outside of work. Notable alumni/staff have included:
- World representative ballroom dancers Gary Crotaz (alum) and Mildred Yuan (current Senior Consultant).
- Sailor Augusto Viansson Ponte (current Director and Head of our Aviation Practice) has been sailing competitively at international level for various teams and has successfully competed in high-profile events such as the Fastnet Race, the Giraglia Race and the Farr 40 and Melges 24 world championships.
- World-ranked speed skier Ben Hedley, ranked 8th in the world the last two seasons (current Associate and former staff member).
Some of our more bizarre memories reported by staff:
- Attaining a life-long dream of snorkelling in Lake Malawi which has the greatest diversity of fish water fish in the world (following an airline transaction project for an old colleague)
- Remembering while walking around town to observe the “keep off the grass” signs in post-war Sarajevo (when in Bosnia on railway and airline projects)
- Ben leaning out of a micro-light plane to get a better view of the French countryside (on a Maddox corporate retreat) and then realising his seat belt restraints were unbuckled
- Tony working out how to tell his wife on her 50th birthday at the beginning of a week’s holiday overseas, that he was leaving at 6am the next morning as a private equity client was demanding his presence back in London
- A group of us drinking a bottle of whiskey on the floor in the lobby of a basic B&B after dinner at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons for our company annual dinner – testing both ends of culinary experiences
- Becca being trapped in a hotel room bathroom by “vicious” baby monkeys at Lake Malawi while they plundered the fruit bowl and remains of breakfast
- Susie being told by six South African (male) cyclists in a race that she “girly” should get out of the way, as it was affecting their drafting technique, and Susie then passing them an hour later on the 50km hilly course
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