International Business Machines Corp., White Plains, N.Y., has hired 11 executives from Finexc Group LLC, a New York consulting firm specializing in financial institutions.

The consulting firm, which had been co-owned by president Jeffrey M. Lynn and chairwoman Anat Bird, has been closed and wrapped into IBM's existing financial consulting practice.

Neither company would disclose the financial terms of the transaction.

Mr. Lynn has joined IBM as vice president of banking, finance, and securities consulting services.

Ms. Bird, a frequent contributor to the American Banker, has moved on to become chief operating officer of the St. Louis-based Roosevelt Financial Group.

Other Finexc senior members have joined IBM at various levels of the consulting organization, including David Martin, who has become principal, and David Cates, who is an industry consultant.

Officials at both companies lauded the arrangement as a way to improve service to financial institutions, which are increasingly turning to technology to satisfy business objectives.

"The issues now on the minds of financial-institution CEOs, directors, and other senior executives are increasingly linked to technology solutions," said Thracy Varvoglis, vice president of IBM's consulting unit.

Mr. Lynn agreed that the nature of bank consulting over the last few years has leaned more toward linking technology with an organization's business goals.

"Today, very few business strategies are without technology implications," he said.

Mr. Varvoglis added that the deal will give IBM, viewed largely as a hardware provider, a chance to augment its management consulting services.

IBM's consulting group, launched in 1991 by Robert Howe, the unit's general manager, has grown from ground-zero to a worldwide organization with 2,500 consultants and revenues of $400 million last year.

The unit will now move to focus on industry channels and expertise, said Mr. Varvoglis. The Finexc team, with its "solid grounding in the (financial consulting) business," is a good supplement to IBM's technology implementation experience, he said.

Finexc has worked with such institutions as Citicorp, Chase Manhattan Corp., First Interstate Bancorp, Bankers Trust Co., Chemical Banking Corp., and Peoples Bank and Trust Co.

The consultants bring to IBM a broad range of experience in such areas as business process reengineering, strategic planning, information systems, market research, product development, management information design, and mergers and acquisitions.

Two areas of technology likely to get the attention of the newest IBM employees are interactive financial services and customer relationship management. The latter includes such applications as customer segmentation and target marketing.

In his new position, Mr. Lynn will oversee consulting at banks and securities firms in North America. Major areas of focus will be reengineering, management information design, and information systems strategies, he said.

Mr. Lynn will also work closely with Mr. Varvoglis, as well as peers in IBM's Europe, Asia/Pacific, and Latin America consulting practices.

At the time of Finexc's closure, the company still had about 20 active clients that will now be served through IBM's consulting unit, said Mr. Lynn.

He added that Finexc's former banking clients view the move as positive because they see IBM as a strong partner.

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