Andersen Consolidates Overseas Operations

The consulting firm anticipates 50 percent growth this year in its communications group alone

With a communications practice spread worldwide, Andersen Consulting has consolidated its worldwide operations under Larry Levitan, a Washington, D.C.-based partner in the Communications Industry Group.

The group, which employs 3,000 people, last year generated $500 million, and Levitan expects business to continue growing at 50 percent annually.

As companies cross domestic borders through mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and partnerships, "the exploding communications marketplace demands a global practice that can serve clients internationally and deploy resources across geographic boundaries," said George Shaheen, Andersen's worldwide managing partner.

Although Andersen has consolidated the group's management, Levitan noted the practice's growth will occur worldwide and not just at the 250-person operation in Washington. "We operate on a virtual basis. I can live anywhere in the world as long as I'm near an international airport," he said.

Companies are going through pervasive change -- change in the underlying communications technology from narrow to broadband, wire to wireless and cellular to PCs, Levitan explained. The technological changes have led to new kinds of services, and the climate of deregulation and increased competition has spurred new players in the communications market. "The convergence of technologies, services and companies is what's driving consulting services," Levitan said. Companies need help in adapting to the changes to survive and stay competitive, and the changes are happening worldwide, he said.

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