Hitachi plans to strengthen its business and IT consulting operations worldwide by expending into Europe, consolidating its Asia businesses and adding more than 2,000 consultants by fiscal 2008.

Hitachi Consulting Europe Limited was established in London in late December 2005 to oversee consulting operations in Europe as a wholly owned subsidiary of US-based Hitachi Consulting Corporation. Plans now call for the start of operations in the UK, Spain and Portugal in March with steps to open offices in other key European markets, namely Germany and France, in 2007 and 2008.

This April, Hitachi will rename EXSURGE, a Hitachi company in Japan engaged in the consulting business, to Hitachi Consulting Co., Ltd, and consolidate its group companies in Japan and Asia in this company, making it easier to standardize offerings and methodologies for seamless delivery across Asia.

To provide executive guidance over all Hitachi consulting businesses, the Hitachi Global Consulting Committee will be formed on April 3 within the Information & Telecommunication Systems Group. This committee will promote the sharing of strategies, solution offerings and tools and methodologies across Japan, the US and Europe as well as the reciprocal use of resources among these three regions.

Hitachi said it plans to increase its number of consultants to 3000 by fiscal 2008, from the current 950.

To lead its European expansion, Hitachi has appointed Michael Travis, formerly President and COO of Hitachi Consulting Corporation, as the company’s new CEO. Travis will now be responsible for managing the consulting business in both the US and Europe.

He joined Hitachi Consulting in July of 2002, along with almost 400 partners and consultants from Andersen Business Consulting, and became President and COO in April of 2003. Earlier this year, Travis was honoured included in Consulting Magazine’s list of Top 25 Consultants.

At the same time, Paul Yonamine, formerly an Executive Vice President, Chairman and Representative Director of BearingPoint, will be appointed Representative Director, President and CEO of EXSURGE. He will also serve on the Hitachi Global Consulting Committee.

Under the leadership of Paul Yonamine, Hitachi Consulting will draw on and pull together the consulting resources of Hitachi’s consulting business units and those of group companies in Japan and Asia. In parallel, the number of consultants for management strategy and other fields will be increased to make the company more competitive as a consulting services firm responsible for Japan and the rest of Asia.

Hitachi established the Institute of Advanced Business Systems (now the Business Solution Systems Division) in February 1990. Subsequently, in November 2000, Hitachi established Hitachi Consulting Corporation to provide services in the US. Later, in July 2002, EXSURGE was established in Japan to specialize in the consulting services business, including management consulting. In November 2005, Hitachi formed alliances with Satyam Computer Services and Intelligroup to establish the Hitachi Global Solutions Center in India as the main hub for expanding Hitachi’s and the Hitachi Group’s global outsourcing capabilities.

Most recently, on February 3, 2006, Hitachi Consulting Corporation acquired Business Intelligence and Corporate Performance Management provider, Navigator Systems, Inc. With this acquisition, Hitachi Consulting continues its pursuit of the BI and CPM market and it said it will continue to emphasize this important market through additional acquisitions and organic more