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McKinsey & Company Undergoes Leadership Elections

McKinsey & Company is the trusted advisor and counselor to many of the world's most influential businesses and institutions. Every 3 years they elect a Managing Partner to be their own internal influential counsellor.

McKinsey & Company is the trusted advisor and counsellor to many of the world’s most influential businesses and institutions. Every 3 years they elect a Managing Partner to be their own internal influential counsellor.

The secretive private company with the most lucrative black book of contacts undergoes internal juggling every three years. In the three years since Dominic Barton left his post, who now assumes the position of Canadian Ambassador to China, McKinsey has faced – from the outside looking in – one of the most challenging time periods in its recent history. First with the firm’s liability in the opioid crisis. Secondly in its firms success rate during the pandemic – where results and not strategy PowerPoints matter. And thirdly with it’s stance on employees right to protest in Russia which recently came to light.

McKinsey’s 650 senior partners have now begun voting on whether Kevin Sneader should serve a second term at the helm of a consultancy. Undoubtedly for a firm who base all their recommendations to companies in fact and qualitative data, it is not too far to imagine press clippings and reputation-by-tabloid will not be considered, but what is vital is the firm’s professional reputation, and the question which lingers is whether the events listed above have affected the ability to win business and have changed Executive Committees’ minds that McKinsey is still a good bet to solve the most challenging business questions.

For example, the Navalny protests, which engulfed Russia last month, Managing Partner Vitaly Klintsov wrote in an email to colleagues, “in line with policy, McKinsey employees must not support any political activity either publicly or privately. This ban does include posts in social media featuring your political views or your attitude to any action with a political flavour. This line of conduct is mandatory.” This raises two questions, one about the attitude of McKinsey to stay out of the private lives of staff and maintain a pro-democracy view, and secondly whether this e-mail means McKinsey cannot separate business dealings from the morally and ethically correct actions. As a vast amount of McKinsey’s business comes from the United States and Western countries, publicly listed companies are more tuned than ever to protect their social standing. As Managing Partner, hiccups which emails banning private political action by personnel will surely be placed at the feet of the person in charge of the entire ship.

On the other hand, the contracts secured during the pandemic with Governments around the world may paint McKinsey in a positive light for the global companies who have logistics and operational challenges which are incredibly complex and bespoke. The number of countries who have enlisted McKinsey, from the UK, France, and USA, to help strategize and structure solutions to vaccine rollouts and social restrictions, will arm the firm with one of the strongest playbooks for how to respond to adversity and collapse in society at the expense of rampant diseases, something which will be translated across different sectors and business verticals around the world. Not only this, but if Governments continue to have a strong vaccine roll out programme, sovereign states will be sure to renew contracts and enlist the big consultants for other projects. It has not been plain sailing however. What start-ups have succeeded to do with home-made HTML and JavaScript and seed funding of £250k, McKinsey seem to have been wrapped up in the debacle of contact tracing which has racked up my than £30 million of costs for consulting and technical help; according to public information released under a Freedom of Information act request in the United Kingdom. This level of financial waste is incredible, even in a pandemic, and many companies will see this as another example of how consultants are out of touch with their fee structures.

Once the voting ends, we shall know the next MP. Until then, we won’t. In the case of McKinsey it really is that black and white, and there are the notorious secretive company.

Sources:

The Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/6110fe11-98e4-42ec-9522-f86d0a458ea2

The Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/f001f3ef-e296-4eb6-b711-5f7cb773e314

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