Cole steers Accenture's fed biz

Martin Cole, the new group chief executive of Accenture's Government Operating Group, plans to maintain the direction set by his predecessor, Steve Rohleder, while moving the company ahead in what he hopes will be greater prominence in the government market.

Rohleder has moved up to become Accenture's chief operating officer. Cole, formerly the global managing partner for Accenture's outsourcing practice, assumed his new position Sept. 1.

Cole said he would like to see the company become a prime contractor on engagements where, in the past, it might have been a subcontractor. However, he said, "this isn't a matter of volume. It's not just [a question of] how do we rack up the wins." So when it makes sense for Accenture to be a subcontractor, Cole said, the company will take that role.

The federal government will continue to deal with health care, an area where Accenture has already built a reputation, Cole said. The other major opportunities he sees are in business systems modernization projects and a federal work force that he believes is thinning as experienced employees retire.

The issues that provide the strongest opportunities for the company are unlikely to be affected by the outcome of the upcoming election, he said.

"We've seen a move to modernize government operations that transcends two administrations," Cole said, referring to efforts begun in the early 1990s under President Clinton. Such longstanding initiatives will go on regardless of the outcome in November, he said.

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