PwC’s Florida leader helps fuel growth in global giant’s consulting business
By Kevin Gale | Photography by Larry Wood
A lot of businesspeople know PwC, once called PricewaterhouseCoopers, as a powerhouse Big Four accounting firm; but few of them probably realize just how big the company is in consulting.
In 2015, the Financial Times reported that PwC’s rapidly growing consulting business was a key reason it had hit
$35.4 billion in revenue, overtaking Deloitte as the world’s largest professional services firm. PwC has more than 200,000 professionals.
John Tripp Davis, the new managing partner in Florida for PwC, fits in with the firm’s growth in consulting. He was on the accounting side earlier in his career, but switched over to the consulting side more than 10 years ago. Prior to moving to Florida, he was PwC’s Midwest region and Greater Chicago market advisory leader. Now, he leads 1,200 professionals across all of PwC’s activities in Florida.
“I will be rebuilding our consulting business,” Davis said during an interview at PwC’s office in downtown Miami’s Wells Fargo Center. “We see that as an opportunity to match up with our assurance and tax services in the market.”
Half of PwC’s Florida professionals are in South Florida (the firm has offices in Fort Lauderdale, in addition to Miami). Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville cover the rest of the state. Client size ranges from Fortune 50 and large private companies to individuals.
Davis says he likes how Florida is performing from an overall business standpoint. “This has been a strong area for the firm from a growth perspective,” he says, adding that financial services were among the growth business sectors that attracted him to the state. “We see an uptick in financial services throughout the entire state. Jacksonville is becoming a major spot for a lot of that activity. The Naples area is getting some traction, too. We have a strong financial services practices here as well.”
There are also a number of technology companies coming to the state, Davis says. Pharma, life sciences and health services are on his radar, too.
Since arriving in Florida, Davis says he’s been impressed with the amount of private equity activity, including businesses looking to acquire or be acquired. Miami’s role as a hub of the Americas is also attractive. “We are a global entity of member firms, so we have a structure that connects all those member offices,” he says. “We have a strong network and we can execute for our multinational global clients.”
PwC has made a series of acquisitions to boost its consulting business. In particular, in 2013, it acquired BGT, a digital advertising agency with offices in Hallandale Beach’s Village of Gulfstream Park. That has evolved into PwC’s Experience Center, which offers what is called a “sandbox experience.”
“Think of it as a customer innovation center,” Davis says. “We can bring in clients and do technology, innovation and strategy. We are now starting to build that same experience across other cities like Chicago, New York and San Jose. That was another reason I was excited to come down here.”
PwC has made some other major consulting acquisitions. In 2009, it bought the majority of BearingPoint’s North American Commercial Services practice, which gave it 800 professionals with technology and management consulting experience in multiple industries. Additionally, PwC picked up 500 professionals in 2010 when it acquired Diamond Management & Technology Consultants.
In 2011, PwC bought PRTM, a global management consulting firm whose 700 professionals have expertise in strategy, supply chain, product development, customer value management and business model innovation. In 2014, PwC bought Booz & Company and changed the name to Strategy&. It is designed to close the gap between strategy and execution.
“Clients like that we can instruct them on strategy, execution and managing risk,” Davis says. “They can ask us to be involved in the entire journey or parts of it.” ↵
Tripp Davis Biography
Grew up in the New Jersey area and attended La Salle University in Philadelphia, graduating with a bachelor’s in accounting and management information systems.
Worked for two years with Arthur Andersen and joined PwC in 1994. He moved to Chicago in 1995 and transitioned into the advisory and consulting field more than 10 years ago.
He is on the board of Junior Achievement USA and the board of Ronald McDonald House in Chicago. His and his wife, who is an attorney, have three children.