Former partners of PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young have joined with executives from Hewlett-Packard and Lucent to form a new consulting company that will focus on helping mid-market companies improve outsourcing effectiveness.

Argea, headquartered in Princeton, N.J., with consultants in the West and Midwest, will combine traditional consulting with outsourcing education, planning, implementation and management services, including temporary personnel with specialized outsourcing skills.

The venture is led by its three founders, chairman Bill Batiste, the former head of PwC's North American business process outsourcing practice; chief executive Ram Iyer, a former executive of Lucent and Boeing; and executive vice president of consulting services Donnie Foster, who led the North American Software Services business for Hewlett-Packard. The trio is joined by executive vice president of business development Vim Anand, the former head of Ernst & Young's North American shared services practice.

While Argea's focus is primarily business process outsourcing, it also includes an information technology outsourcing component. The company's industry focus includes financial services, high-tech, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and health care. "Our long-term focus is on middle-market companies and outsourcing strategy to improve their competitiveness," said Iyer. "America's future competitiveness lies in helping these companies leverage global resources like large multinational companies do. Mid-market solutions require different models. We will fill that gap in the marketplace."

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