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Jefferson Wells Becomes Experis

May 13, 2011

Manpower changed the name of its Jefferson Wells unit last month to Experis in an effort to emphasize the concepts of experience and expertise.

In North America, Experis is going to be the new name of not only Jefferson Wells, but also of two other Manpower brands: Manpower Professional and Comsys. I talked with Mike Touhey, vice president and general manager of Experis Finance, on Thursday about the reasons behind the rebranding.

“From a strategy standpoint, as the mass of our group looked at the marketplace and spent a lot of time with our clients, understanding what their demands are from a talent perspective, we continued to hear high demand for professional resourcing talent, both in private solutions but also in professional resourcing,” he said. “The complexity of their world was increasing, and the demand for a broader set of services.”

Mike Touhey

The business reasons behind the formation of Experis tie into the broader, more complex needs that Manpower’s clients are facing in meeting their business requirements, Touhey explained.

“As part of that, one of the three verticals that was formed was Experis Finance, which is bringing together three important components within the ManpowerGroup, all focusing on this finance vertical,” he said. “Those included Jefferson Wells, which is the cornerstone of the finance vertical. It included the professional resourcing business that had been included in Manpower Professional, and it included a specialized company called plumbRhino that had been part of the Comsys organization. So plumbRhino was focused on financial institutions improving their business operations, Manpower Professional provided professional resourcing, and Jefferson Wells will continue to provide the same level of talent and expertise we do today, both from a project solutions standpoint and for professional resourcing. So what we ended up with in Experis Finance was a broader set of skills and experiences that we can bring to our clients in the requirements that they have around finance needs. The finance needs really represent three practice areas. We have risk advisory services, we have tax, and we have finance and accounting. They’re under the Experis Finance brand.”

The entire staff of Jefferson Wells, Manpower Professional and plumbRhino are all going to be part of Experis Finance. “We continue to maintain all the skills that we had before, and really added to what Jefferson Wells had before with the addition of those two other organizations to provide a broader set of skills to clients,” said Touhey.

The company also plans to up-sell clients on services such as implementing computer systems. “The Experis brand represents two things: experts and experience,” Touhey noted. “It’s a very good representation of what all of the verticals deliver to clients within the Experis brand. But I think it’s important to note that while the branding process is extremely important, strategy is really what led the rebranding process. Under the Experis name, we now have the finance vertical, we have the IT vertical, and we have the engineering vertical. What we see are many synergies with our clients as we deliver more solutions to them. As an example, within finance and accounting, everything they do is tied to an information system. So, our ability to provide functional expertise on the finance and accounting side, but also the IT expertise that can help them with systems implementation, we think puts us in a very unique position.”

Unique or not, that’s a position that other accounting and consulting firms have found themselves in, and it’s in some ways reminiscent of Andersen Consulting’s rebranding as Accenture. Of course, Andersen had good reason for the name change, especially after the Enron scandal made the old associations with Arthur Andersen less and less desirable. But other accounting firms’ consulting groups have also found it’s a good idea to change their name, as was the case with BearingPoint, which used to be KPMG’s consulting arm. Jefferson Wells is different, being part of a publicly traded company like Manpower, which is better known for staffing and temp services than for its accounting and tax services. Still, the Experis name does have a zippy sound to it, so it could be a good move as Manpower continues to move beyond pure staffing needs.

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