BCG in the 1970s

During the 1970s, BCG focused on accelerating its growth, furthering its global expansion, creating leading analytics, and deepening its expertise in business strategy.

With the economic climate sluggish and international competition intensifying, companies flocked to BCG and other consulting firms for help. Confident of demand from multinational clients, the firm expanded to Europe. The investment paid off as the still-small firm developed a sizable share of European business and began planning offices on other continents.

Meanwhile, with interest rates rising worldwide, capital allocation was a pressing concern for many clients. Headquarters needed a smarter way to connect scarce resources with the strongest opportunities. BCG was a pioneer in leveraging data to drive insights and ultimately action. One notable example was the growth share matrix, a user-friendly allocation model that allowed clients to manage their portfolios with greater confidence.

In 1973, Bill Bain and two other BCG consultants left to form Bain & Company, which, like BCG, grew into a major consulting firm on the world stage. Bain & Company was one of many consulting spin-offs that originated from BCG.

The year 1975 was an inflection point in the firm’s history. BCG bought itself out from the Boston Company and became an independent entity, owned in trust for the benefit of its employees. As founder, rather than arranging to give himself the lion’s share of the stock, Bruce Henderson made an unprecedented move. He handed over all but approximately 5% of the company, with only one string attached: that the partnership leave BCG stronger for the next generation. These years cemented the collaborative culture of the firm.

Thanks to growing profits, the buy-out from the Boston Company was complete in 1979—five years ahead of schedule.

BCG Books Published in the 1970s

BCG’s Growth in the 1970s

By the end of the 1970s, BCG had more than 250 employees and seven offices, including ones in London, Paris, San Francisco, Munich, and Chicago.