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The CEO role is like no other and is the only truly peerless role in a company.
We help CEOs maximize their impact in the main elements of their job: setting the strategy, aligning the organization, leading the top team, working with the board, being the face of the company to external stakeholders, and managing their own time and energy. We draw on our rigorous proprietary research and insights, and our experience helping thousands of CEOs, to determine how high-performing CEOs think and act differently from others. Our robust toolkit supports CEOs in achieving excellence throughout their tenure: preparing for the role, transitioning into the role, maximizing their mid-tenure trajectory, and handing off to a successor while planning for their next ambition. We combine the best experts from McKinsey as well as from industry and academia to share cutting-edge insights and tools.

What we do

CEO candidate preparation

We partner with executives aspiring to become CEO – ranging from those new to the C-suite to those actively in the running – by helping them develop their skills, leadership style, and personal operating model so that they are well prepared to prioritize their efforts and demonstrate proof points that they are ready for the next level. We also work with the CEO and board to establish a rigorous succession planning process.

CEO transition and onboarding

We support new CEO transition planning, from strategic aspiration-setting and developing the CEO’s transformation agenda, to the tactics of planning the first 100 days. Other areas of focus include building a high performing executive team, creating organizational alignment, fostering board and other stakeholder relationships, and managing one’s own personal operating model. Throughout, we bring CEOs from multiple organizations together for in-person learning, exploration, and development, as well as provide practical playbooks, tools, and insights to make their first few months in role a jumping off point to success in their tenure as CEO.

CEO succession planning

We work with the board and incumbent CEO to establish a rigorous succession planning process; provide playbooks, tools, and insights to enable a successful transition planning and execution phase, and prepare the incumbent CEO for their next ambition.

CEO counseling and advisory

We help CEOs of all tenures excel across all elements of their role, including corporate strategy, organizational alignment, team and processes, board engagement, stakeholder management, and personal working norms. Our confidential and personalized individual CEO counseling, thought partnership, and perspectives on a company’s performance help to unlock heightened performance.

CEO-led large-scale transformation support

For CEOs in situations that require shaping and leading a large-scale transformation, we help them think about the overall aspiration, the high-impact change model they need to enable it, the role of both the CEO and top team in the transformation, and we help align and mobilize the organization to carry it out.

Featured insights

Article - McKinsey Quarterly

The CEO moment: Leadership for a new era

– Challenged by the global pandemic, CEOs have made four shifts in the way they lead that hold great promise for both companies and society. Will they build on this unique moment, or return to the ways of the past?
Article

The mindsets and practices of excellent CEOs

– The CEO’s job is as difficult as it is important. Here is a guide to how the best CEOs think and act.

The CEO Journey

Our best insights at every stage of the life cycle of a CEO, from preparing to take the top job to successfully passing on the baton.

Preparing to become a CEO

Insights on developing skills, experience, leadership style, and personal operating model - and navigating the CEO candidate selection process.

Transitioning and onboarding into the CEO role

Insights on the factors underpinning successful CEO transitions, from setting bold aspirations to building an effective senior team and developing stakeholder relationships.

Maximizing CEO effectiveness

The CEO role is like no other. Here's what CEOs need to know to operate effectively and build an organization that creates value now and for the long term.

Managing CEO succession

Ensuring a smooth succession is part of the CEO's legacy. This means working closely with the board to develop potential candidates and put a robust selection process in place.

Our research

We draw on insights from our proprietary database of CEO performance—the largest of its kind. We also leverage our research on bold moves and resource allocation, as well as McKinsey Global Institute perspectives and our experience helping hundreds of CEOs from private companies, public-sector organizations and not-for-profit institutions.

>7,800

CEOs

80

countries

24

industries

Featured capabilities

CEO Excellence Forum

This 1.5 day learning forum provides CEOs transitioning into the role an opportunity to access McKinsey’s best insights, tools and experience to shape their agenda and deep-dive into the unique role a CEO plays.

Bower Forum

This two-day workshop is a unique platform for a small group of CEOs or Chairpersons to discuss goals, challenges, and role-specific issues, while counseling and learning from one another.

Board Services

We help clients improve the effectiveness of the board of directors through counseling, capability building, and developing new insights.

Related practice

Organization

Learn how our consultants combine analytical rigor and deep experience to help organizations strengthen both short-term performance and long-term health.

Connect with our Strategy & Corporate Finance Practice