BCG in the 1960s

In July 1963 one person founded the consulting division of the Boston Safe Deposit & Trust Company with, as he put it, “one desk, no clients, and no staff.” The person at the desk was Bruce Henderson, a visionary from Nashville, Tennessee. At the time, most consulting firms focused on organizational work and best practices. Henderson had a different vision. He set out to help companies differentiate themselves so that they could thrive in an increasingly competitive world.

Henderson was a veteran consultant with strong opinions, yet he believed in collaboration more than hierarchy. From the start, he made a point of hiring talented graduates from the top business schools. Henderson’s main investor and colleagues suggested that he name the new firm after himself, as was the custom at the time for consulting firms, but Henderson resisted. He recognized that only as a team of engaged and independent thinkers could the firm have the far-reaching impact he aspired to. Accordingly, he took a more collegial approach and named it the Boston Consulting Group. Henderson was a man with a radical vision to change the world and his timing couldn’t have been better. European and Japanese companies had recovered from wartime devastation and were entering markets worldwide.

From the start, BCG focused on spreading new ideas and challenging conventional wisdom, not just winning business. The firm began publishing hard-hitting, provocative essays called Perspectives on thorny management challenges. That wider focus helped distinguish the firm in another area—integrity—as clients learned that BCG cared about more than just revenue. From its earliest days, BCG also believed in the power of collaboration around the world. The firm opened its second office in Japan, not only marking its entrance into Asia but also becoming the first Western consulting firm in the country.

In addition to high-level strategic insights, BCG offered data-driven analysis and powerful models such as the Experience Curve. The firm’s ideas soon shaped conversations in business hallways and business school classrooms around the world.

BCG Books Published in the 1960s

BCG’s Growth in the 1960s

The firm grew rapidly in the 1960s. By 1969 it had offices in Boston and Tokyo, along with 62 employees.