The History of Boston Consulting Group

BCG began not as another management consulting firm but as a pioneer of bold, new approaches to running a company.

One of the many legacies left by Bruce Henderson, BCG’s founder, is the importance of always challenging the status quo. That spirit of independence has inspired BCGers over six decades to to look beyond the obvious and find the solutions that drive lasting change in an increasingly complex world. BCG has grown to become the largest global partnership, recognized for helping industry leaders unlock their potential and seize new opportunities.

Explore BCG’s timeline


Bruce Henderson’s Ideas and BCG Perspectives

When BCG adopted “strategy” as its specialty, it ignited a revolution that would transform business management forever. From the beginning, Bruce Henderson’s passion for ideas was the firm’s mark of distinction. His ideas and writings reveal a visionary who excelled at challenging the status quo, a brilliant thinker, and a man of action, driven by a strong sense of purpose.

In 1964 he developed a new approach to marketing a consulting firm: Perspectives, brief and highly provocative essays on strategy. BCG published these essays in a user-friendly brochure format—they were small enough to fit comfortably in an executive’s coat pocket. At first the Perspectives series merely excerpted ideas from other publications that had appeared in less user-friendly forms. But soon Henderson and his colleagues were delivering their own new ideas—such as the growth share matrix and time-based competition—and these proved far more appealing than what executives were seeing elsewhere.

These breakthrough ideas that BCG developed—and continues to develop today—have become business canon and have helped establish our reputation in the marketplace. And the core values established by BCG played a major role in shaping the firm into what it is today—while continuing to guide our work on a daily basis.


When Bruce Henderson founded BCG, he envisioned that it might someday change the world. Through collaboration with clients, orchestration of strategy, and recognition of distinctive organizational dynamics, BCG consultants have guided industry leaders toward recognizing and responding to their changing world, helping them to capitalize on emerging opportunities, and seizing the competitive advantage. 

With true insight and the ability to transform it into action, BCG has driven real change in organizations and fulfilled Henderson’s vision. BCG has not only transformed the way the world does business but also fundamentally changed the game.

Inside the Journey

We have changed the whole nature of American business. And tomorrow we can change the world, too.

Bruce Henderson
Founder and CEO, 1963-1980

Our work internally and with our clients depends on the understanding that we care honestly and deeply about helping them succeed . . . Making it happen is an iterative process of translating insights into convictions and actions.

Alan Zakon
CEO, 1980-1985

BCG has been able to build bridges between our history and our future and between our old and new values. It has helped us keep alive a BCG culture that relied on persuasion rather than coercion, a continuing challenge as the pace of change accelerates.

John Clarkeson
CEO, 1986-1997; Chairman Emeritus
BCG Global Services

Belief is the imperative of competitive advantage, and the power of insight to deliver it, is what differentiates BCG. It is the essence of our soul. That is why I love this firm.

Carl Stern
Senior Advisor

The first and most obvious reason that we've succeeded is that we are really part of the solution for so many clients. We rolled up our sleeves, helped clients to identify the key areas for improvement, and then ensured that things got done.

Hans-Paul Bürkner
Managing Director and Global Chair Emeritus

What is it about us that has enabled us to sustain this level of performance for so long? The first is a remarkably enduring set of values and aspirations; the second has been our willingness to evolve and adapt in pursuit of those aspirations. We're always searching for what is powerful, for what will really make a difference. We believe that being good is not good enough. The timeless sense of purpose and the constant call for renewal will be the thread that connects us across decades and across generations.

Rich Lesser
Global Chair
New York