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The Forum Corporation is a global management consulting firm owned by Informa specializing in strategy execution for companies in a broad array of industries. Founded in the early 1970s, the company began primarily as a corporate training and education company later transitioning into a more diverse management consulting operation. Forum has worked with over 480 companies, 130 of which are listed on the Fortune 500.


Early years

Forum was founded in 1971 by five partners who originally financed the startup with their American Express cards. By 1982 it was ranked 362 on the Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing private companies in America, with 170 employees and 40 part-time instructors. As clients moved the company began conducting operations overseas in the late 1970s.

In 1986 U.S. News & World Report described it as one of largest employee-training companies, and the following year it entered Australia.

Forum expanded to New Zealandmarker in 1993, and by 1996 Forum had 500 employees worldwide with established offices in Boston, Hong Kong, London, and Toronto, and an expected revenue of US$65 million.By 1997 its training was conducted in 18 languages, and with structural changes in the business world, Forum supplied a significant portion of training for 6 American companies and operated the entire training divisions of 6 others. That same year it announced an alliance to provide worldwide training with the business communications company, the Moore Corporation.


On June 30, 2000, Forum accepted an offer by Pearson, a London-based media conglomerate, to purchase Forum for US$90 million (GBP 60 million) in cash. Pearson intended to merge Forum with FT Knowledge to generate sales of US$110 million in its first year. Forum Chairman and CEO John Humphrey oversaw the integration as chairman of an international advisory board while FT Knowledge CEO Pippa Wicks became the CEO of the new company. Forum executive vice president Jennifer Potter-Brotman was promoted to CEO of Forum, as Pearson wished to keep senior Forum managers and preserve brand identity. After Forum shareholders unanimously approved the purchase, and the Federal Trade Commission approved the deal on July 10, the official announcement was released August 3.

In July 2002, the Institute for International Research (IIR) expressed interest in purchasing Forum, and as FT Knowledge began consolidating Pearson decided to launch negotiations that November. A final deal was signed on January 13, 2003, selling Forum to IIR for US$30 million. IIR was purchased itself in 2005 by the British publisher and conference company Informa.


Forum lists five major services it offers to companies: diagnosis, leadership alignment, leader and employee development, reinforcement, and dedicated consulting. It also maintains several strategic partnerships, including with WisdomTools, Paradigm Learning, Harvard Business School Publishing, and Fort Hill Company.


Further reading

  • Van Adelsberg, David; Trolley, Edward A. (1999). Running Training Like A Business: Delivering Unmistakable Value. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. ISBN 1576750590

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