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Post-election: Bain & Co. exec speaks out

November 6, 2012: 11:13 PM ET

Senior executive with Bain & Co. reflects and looks ahead.

FORTUNE -- The long election season is now over, with President Obama appearing to have won reelection. Before the votes were counted, I spent some time on the phone with Phil Kleweno, head of the Washington, D.C. office for consulting firm Bain & Co., to get his thoughts on how the campaign affected his firm and on what his clients can expect for the next four years.

What follows is an edited transcript of our conversation:

FORTUNE: How has this election impacted Bain & Company?

The strength of Bain and Company is a brand built on our 40-year history of achieving results for clients, and the brand has never been stronger. The thing we do notice internally, however, is that everyone knows who we are now. And a lot of people are now able to distinguish between us and Bain Capital. I don't think it's really caused any change in our client relationships, because our clients know how we work and that Gov. Romney left our firm 20 years ago. CEOs recognize that 20 years is a very long time in the life of a firm.

You run the firm's Washington, D.C. office. If Democrats keep the White House and Senate, do you imagine any local blowback?

I haven't seen anything like that, or had any conversations with clients that would suggest that. If Gov. Romney were to win, we'd probably stay a household name and if he loses people will probably get on with it. But, as I said, I don't think it affects how our clients think about us. It helps, perhaps, that we're not actively involved in federal government work.

Most of the "Bain" media attention during the campaign has been on Bain Capital, rather than on Bain & Company. Did that surprise you?

That's an interesting point. I do think that it possibly speaks to the nature of the relationship we have with CEOs of companies, sometimes side by side, sometimes behind the scenes. They are Personal relationships, and I think a lot of people probably wouldn't come forward with confidential information because it's about their companies. We take great pride in the training we give our people and the types of work we do with our clients. We're a professional fee-for-services business, not a private equity model where we're buying companies.

I know this is a very vague question, but could you talk a bit about how your clients would be affected by this outcome's elections? 

I think that no matter who wins, it's a pretty challenging 2013 for the business community. That's driven by the fact that most of the growth and sustained growth of the last couple of years has been from direct or indirect government stimulus. Regardless of who's in charge, a lot of changes will be inevitable. Something as simple as the payroll tax cut, which will disappear on January 1.  If you take a family making $50,000 per year -- which is on-third of the GDP on the household income side and also the group hardest hit by unemployment -- that's going to be a $1,000 disposable income hit, which is significant. Things like that people aren't expecting, so any administration is going to face headwinds at the beginning that could be stronger than they currently seem. The way we look at it, a lot of that die already has been cast. We do see a stronger forecast at the latter part of that decade but, by then, there will have been a new election.

 You contributed to President Obama's campaign in 2008, but not this time around. Why?

In 2008 I was just attending a fundraiser with a friend who asked me to attend. My contribution history is not a statement either way.

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About This Author
Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

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