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"Never Waste a Crisis...transform Every Single One Into an Opportunity"

Business Today |
Milind Kothari, Managing Partner |

22 July 2021

What was the problem you were grappling with?

We became a BDO member firm in 2013. From being a mid-sized firm, we were trailing only the Big 4. Beginning January 2016, within six months, we parted ways with all our legacy partners and teams. That left me as the only founding equity partner, with the task of managing a 20-member strong partnership and 600 employees across four locations. It was challenging since a professional services firm derives its strength from its partnership and team of professionals. We were also looking to scale up.

Who did you approach and why?

Stephen Darley, CEO, Asia-Pacific, BDO International, was my rock of strength, my confidant, my counsellor! His belief in my integrity and conviction in my capabilities saw me through those testing times.

What was the best advice you ever received?

Stephen would recount the famous Winston Churchill line, ‘never waste a crisis’. He was emphatic that this crisis was a golden opportunity to rebuild the firm.

How effective was it in resolving the problem?

We created a new structure of ‘ownership-partnership’ that turned out to be transformational. The transparency provided by the operating structure is favourable for all stakeholders. Today, we have multiplied five-fold on most growth parameters. BDO India is now nearing 120 partners, a presence in 10 Indian cities and is the fifth-largest firm by size in the BDO network.