Former AOL executive Kate Burns is among a group of five UK business leaders who have teamed up to launch a new management consultancy firm, called Accelerate, offering one-on-one business advice and access to a wide network of industry contacts.

The focus of Accelerate is on “creating commercial advantage, brand value and in delivering results that ultimately maximise a company’s potential”, according to the company. Unlike many traditional management consultancy firms, all of the team have personal experience at the board level.

As CEO of AOL Europe, Kate Burns was responsible for setting the strategy and overseeing day-to-day operations in the UK and Ireland. Within 18 months she had taken the European business back to profitability and spearheaded a growth strategy that led to the acquisition of goviral A/S and the launch of The Huffington Post in the UK.

Previously, she was Google’s first employee outside of the US, where she drove its sales in Europe to $1 billion. She has also worked at Bebo, Dailymotion, Altavista, Doubleclick, Ziff Davis and News International. As a high profile business leader and strategist she is an expert in shaping businesses and growing them profitably, according to Accelerator.

Other members of the team include:

  • Entrepreneurial finance director Nimeshh Patel, who has experience in the investment banking, telecoms, media and Internet sectors, and most recently was Chief Operating Officer at AOL Europe;
  • Digital media expert Pat Nelson, who was part of original team that launched Yahoo in the UK and has helped implement commercial initiatives for the likes of Skype, Adidas and 20th Century Fox;
  • Multi channel commercial strategist Anthony Webb, who is focused on business development and has worked for companies such as American Express, Vodafone, Warner Bros and General Motors;
  • Catering and retail commercial strategist Anne Macartney, whose experience covers private sector start-ups, corporate turnarounds, change management and business expansion/acquisition programmes.

Accelerate aims to takes a hands-on approach to its client’s needs, whether providing turnaround advisory services from operational restructuring to revenue enhancement, or providing deal execution services such as commercial development, M&A or raising capital.

The firm aims to support businesses from the advisory stage through to implementation, drawing on the support of global advisors with specialist skills in technology & product management, communications and business transformation programmes, as appropriate to support its clients.

“It is time that the standard model of consulting and advising is shaken up,” said Burns, who is now Managing Partner at Accelerate Worldwide. “Our clients’ ambitions and growth are at the core of every project we take on – we are passionate about positive results.”