McKinsey Taps Sternfels as New Leader to Move Beyond Rocky Era

McKinsey & Co. announced that Bob Sternfels was elected its new global managing partner, as the consulting firm seeks to move past a rocky era that included paying $573 million in fines for providing advice to pharmaceutical companies that helped fuel the nation’s opioid crisis.

The firm on Wednesday named Sternfels, a San Francisco-based partner and head of its client capabilities practice, to a three-year term starting July 1. Sternfels, 51, replaces Kevin Sneader, whom the firm’s senior managing partners voted last month to remove. McKinsey holds an election for the post every three years, with each executive allowed to serve only two terms. Sneader served one.

McKinsey Taps Sternfels as New Leader to Move Beyond Rocky Era

In 2019, the firm adopted what it called “more rigorous” client selection policies, which required analyzing whether its work would hurt people, particularly vulnerable populations. It also said it wouldn’t work for defense, intelligence or law enforcement institutions in nondemocratic countries, and that it would stay away from politics and companies that make opioid-based pain pills. In the $573 million settlement, McKinsey denied wrongdoing.

“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,” Sternfels said in a prepared statement released by the firm. “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.”

Sternfels, a California native who played water polo at Stanford University, has been with McKinsey since 1994. He was previously a candidate for the managing partner role and is a member of the board of directors.

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