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Entries : Whittman-Hart Inc.
Whittman-Hart Inc.

Whittman-Hart Inc.

Robert F. Bernard, a son of an electrician who worked for Chicago's Inland Steel Co., founded this computer software and consulting firm in 1984 when he was 22 years old. In 1990 his partner William Merchantz departed with the software side of the company, leaving Bernard in charge of the consulting business, which then had revenues of $9 million a year. In 1996, the company began to sell stock to the public. In 1999, Whittman-Hart acquired the USWeb Corp. of San Francisco, a Web design and strategy firm, for nearly $6 billion. The new company, which changed its name to MarchFirst Inc., had 9,000 employees around the world, including about 1,500 in the Chicago area. At the time, MarchFirst ranked as the world's largest Internet services company, with annual sales of about $500 million. At the beginning of the new century, MarchFirst's fortunes began dropping quickly along with the high-tech Internet sector. Its assets were liquidated in the middle of 2001, its remaining corporate shell mired in bankruptcy proceedings for the next two years. In mid-2003, Robert Bernard reacquired some of his old company's liquidated units and launched a slimmed-down Internet technology consulting company. The new firm, operating in five Midwestern cities including Chicago, reincarnated the well-known WhittmanHart name (minus the hyphen).