Last week, the 500-plus senior partners at global consultancy-McKinsey & Company gathered in London to begin the process of determining who will succeed current Global Managing Director Dominic Barton. The Financial Times reported that one of the frontrunners for the spot is Vivian Hunt, Managing Partner of the firm's practice in the UK and Ireland.
Keys for thinking about Ms. Hunt taking the role:
- McKinsey is going to be advising the UK government and multinationals around the world on how to navigate the potential knock-on effects of the Brexit vote over the next several years. Having someone at the top of the firm who has a deep knowledge of the UK market would be a good move.
- For the past ten years, McKinsey has conducted formal research on the impact advancing women has - could add $12T to global growth. Here's McKinsey's opportunity to show rather than tell.
- McKinsey has managed to find its name caught up in several high-profile business scandals over the past couple decades. The firm doesn't seem to have faced macro blow back, but the populist wave taking the reins of countries around the world could bring the firm under a spotlight for its long reach in advising the top business and government leaders around the world. The firm will need effective leadership to navigate that.
- Scandal Context: Jeffrey Skilling, disgraced former Enron CEO was one of the youngest McKinsey consultants to make partner. The CEO, CFO, and one of the Group Chairman for Valeant (the drug giant notorious for exorbitant price-gouging all were at McKinsey for 20-30 years). Former Global Managing Direct Rajat Gupta and Senior Partner Anil Kumar were found guilty of insider trading. McKinsey is currently caught up in a scandal in South Africa where it partnered with a firm that has ties to the highly influential Gupta family that essentially has South Africa's president and numerous ministers in its pocket.
McKinsey's reach through the public and private sector is enormous. The impact of a black woman running the firm on the company's it advises cannot be overstated, particularly as the conversation around diversity within executive ranks continues to gain steam.