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  It is every consulting partners’ worst nightmare.
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Legal proceedings against the firm. Something one usually associates more with the business of auditing than consulting. Yet this week sees strategy heavyweights Bain enter the dock, facing a $70m+ lawsuit in the US.

The case revolves around Bain’s alleged involvement in a boardroom conspiracy that forced the former CEO of Club Med from his position.

The aforementioned Serge Trigano claims that Bain leaked a negative report to a number of Club Med board members, undermining his position within the firm and laeding to his replacement. It is also alleged that this was done in collusion with the Agnelli family – which Trigano’s lawyers suggest could have helped Bain win more consulting business from Fiat.

The case is a fascinating one since it revolves not around the provision of poor consulting advice, but rather the potential for misuse of the power bestowed on consultants when they are brought in as advisors. It focusses essentially on whether there can be serious conflicts of interest at consulting firms. As such it is sure to be watched with interest by Partners worldwide.

Trigano is demanding $20m+ in damages and $50m in punitive damages, expenses and legal fees. This could quite easily amount to the majority of Bain’s annual profits in the recently depressed market.

Unsurprisingly Bain denies the accusations, arguing that the draft report had no impact since at the time of its release the decision to replace Trigano had already been made. The case continues.
 
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