McKinsey & Company picks Bob Sternfels as global leader

10 March 2021 2 min. read
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McKinsey & Company’s 650 senior partners have voted, appointing the 51-year-old American Bob Sternfels as the firm’s next global managing partner. Per July 1, 2021 he will take over the reins from incumbent Kevin Sneader. 

The race for the firm’s leadership was closely watched over the past two weeks, particularly because McKinsey’s current global managing partner Kevin Sneader was ousted in the second round of the leadership race. In February, all senior partners of the global management consulting firm could cast their vote, and out of the process eight candidates including Kevin Sneader made it to the second round

Kevin Sneader’s exit came as a surprise, as he has become the first global managing partner to not be reinstated in the office for a second term in decades. His predecessor Dominic Barton held three terms in the office (2009 to 2018), while Ian Davis (2003 to 2009) served two terms in the office. 

Bob Sternfels, Global Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company

According to the Financial Times, the senior partners of McKinsey & Company were unhappy with the way how Sneader dealt with a number of large reputational scandals such as the opioid crisis in the US, its work for autocratic governments in China and Saudi Arabia and an affair in South Africa. 

The final round was between the American Bob Sternfels, currently chief operating officer of McKinsey, and the Dutchman Sven Smit, currently the co-chairman of the McKinsey Global Institute, with the American coming out on top as the winner. 

Sternfels has been at McKinsey since 1994, working in Australia and South Africa before returning to his native California. The San Francisco-based partner becomes the 13th managing partner of McKinsey since its founding in 1926. He will lead a team of over 30,000 partners, consultants and staff working from 100+ offices globally. 

Commenting on his appointment, Sternfels said: “I am determined to use this moment to make our partnership stronger, more inclusive and better able to help our clients thrive in a fast-changing world. I am also committed to build on the important changes that Kevin helped launch and our partnership embraced – and on the good work our firm does with our clients and in society.”