Back to CEO Excellence

CEO perspectives

How do the best CEOs think and act? What wisdom can they share? Explore a special collection of CEO perspectives that touches on everything from corporate strategy to personal working norms.

Topics

Corporate strategy | Organization and team
Board of Directors | External stakeholders
Personal working norms | Crisis response

Corporate Strategy

Interview - McKinsey Quarterly

A digital-business builder: An interview with the CEO of Allianz Direct

– What does it take to build scalable new businesses inside of an older, more established company? Bart Schlatmann is building one now.
Podcast

Michelle Gass of Kohl’s on shifting from survival to growth

– The CEO of the US retailer describes how the COVID-19 disruption helped refocus the chain’s strategy.
Podcast

Simon Pryce of Ultra Electronics on growth

– Here’s how he turned an aggregation of acquisitions into a cohesive innovation engine.
Interview - McKinsey Quarterly

Asia at the speed of light: An interview with the head of ReNew Power

– The energy transition will remake Asia, says Sumant Sinha, managing director of ReNew Power.
Podcast

The committed innovator: An interview with Anjali Sud, CEO of Vimeo

– When a marketing executive discovered an unexpected market opportunity, she disrupted the company’s original business—and... became CEO in the process.
Interview - McKinsey Quarterly

Using ecosystems to reach higher: An interview with the co-CEO of Ping An

– Expect digital to further blur industry lines, supercharge scalability, and loosen geographical restraints for professional services,... says Jessica Tan.
Interview

Building a digital New York Times: CEO Mark Thompson

– Thompson looks back on an eight-year tenure that has transformed a 170-year-old news brand into a global, digital-subscription-first... powerhouse—and at what lies ahead for its new leadership.
Interview - McKinsey Quarterly

Stay visible—but don’t be needed: How Alain Bejjani is leading through the unexpected

– A five-year, purpose-driven digital transformation has helped the CEO of Majid Al Futtaim, and his organization, to cope with... the coronavirus pandemic.
Podcast

Transformation and resilience: An interview with Best Buy’s executive chairman Hubert Joly

– Hubert Joly shares lessons from leading the turnaround of the retail and technology giant and how it prepared him and the company... for the current crisis.

Organization and team

Interview - McKinsey Quarterly

Shattering the status quo: A conversation with Haier’s Zhang Ruimin

– Having built Haier into a global powerhouse, its CEO now wants to overthrow 100 years of organizational orthodoxy.
Interview

Improving mental health: An interview with One Mind’s Garen Staglin

– One Mind founder Garen Staglin knows the toll mental illness can take on individuals and families. He has dedicated his life to... mental-health advocacy and research—at home, at work, and beyond.
Interview

Author Talks: Deanna Mulligan on smart skill building

– The former chair and CEO of Guardian Insurance offers a theory of change for those hiring, retaining, and retraining the next... generation of tech-savvy employees.
Interview - Learn to Leap #12

One start-up’s successful organizational approach to speed and flexibility

– Once agile practices are truly embedded in a company’s DNA, even a pandemic can’t dent its ability to respond quickly... to evolving customer needs—and the competition.
Interview

‘Making a big company feel small’: An interview with HCA Healthcare CEO Sam Hazen

– Protecting lives and livelihoods and ensuring stability remain the two main objectives for a large healthcare provider.
Interview

Reskilling for a changing economy: A discussion with Glenn Youngkin

– Youngkin, chair of the Virginia Ready Initiative, talks about easing unemployment and strengthening Virginia’s economy by connecting... people with training, financial support, and job opportunities.
Interview - McKinsey Quarterly

Prioritize people in times of crisis: An interview with the CEO of BHP

– Mike Henry explains the importance of social value in decision making and why relationships lie at the heart of business resilience.
Interview - Learn to Leap #7

When start-ups scale up: Lessons on building up culture and talent

– Financial-services company Raisin began in a basement in 2012. By constantly reflecting on and evaluating its own performance,... Raisin has been able to consistently grow.
Interview - McKinsey Quarterly

In disruptive times, the power comes from people: An interview with Eric Schmidt

– As we enter a new golden age of technological innovation, nurturing talent will become more critical, according to the former... chairman of Alphabet.

Board of Directors

Podcast

Boards, talent, and culture

– Boards need to ensure that management walks the talk on culture and values.
Podcast

The role of boards in fostering resilience

– The lessons learned from the current crisis can help corporate boards make the organizations they serve stronger.
Interview

Author Talks: Dambisa Moyo on how boards can work better

– In her new book, Dambisa Moyo explores the role of corporate boards in the 21st century and how they need to adapt to greater... demands.
Podcast

Boards and decision making

– What the pandemic has taught board directors about high-consequence, low-probability decisions.
Podcast

The committed innovator: A conversation with board director Ireena Vittal

– The global innovation expert on solving the puzzle of growth in emerging markets.
Podcast

The board’s role during crisis and beyond

– Three seasoned board directors discuss the role boards are playing in guiding their companies toward recovery from the COVID-19... crisis.
Podcast

Boards and cybersecurity

– How boards should prepare for the rising cybersecurity threat

External stakeholders

Podcast

Stakeholder capitalism: A conversation with Vivian Hunt and Paul Polman

– Why companies must now compete on trust and deliver value to multiple stakeholders.
Interview

Helping unemployed women find work in uncertain times

– How the CEO of UK charity Smart Works is able to meet its clients’ changing needs during an unprecedented job market.
Podcast

Ron O’Hanley of State Street on corporate resilience and ESG

– The CEO of the US financial giant reflects on the lessons about managing environmental, social, and governance risks that the... pandemic delivered to global business.
Interview

Sustainability and health are top of mind for today’s grocery retailers: An interview with Frans Muller

– Ahold Delhaize’s president and CEO explains how the Belgian grocer has prioritized employees’ mental health, leveraged... digital personalization tools to help consumers make healthy and sustainable food choices, and connected with the community through local initiatives.
Interview

Sustainability and growth go hand in hand: An interview with Mikko Helander

– Kesko’s CEO explains why the Finnish company, which has a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025, views sustainability... as an integral part of its success story.
Interview

CEO Interview: CDPQ invests in climate action

– Charles Emond oversees more than $291 billion in investments around the world. He wants to see real action on climate change.
Interview - McKinsey Quarterly

Taking stock: Catching up with Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman

– How has the global market exchange remained relevant to its stakeholders after 50 years? By embracing changes in technology, society,... and the economy and by meeting customers’ needs with innovation.
Interview - McKinsey Quarterly

Addressing society’s pain points: An interview with the CEO of Ayala Corporation

– Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala reflects on Asia’s imperative, and his own, to find inclusive and creative solutions to complex... and uncertain challenges.
Interview - McKinsey Quarterly

How an Australian resources company makes ESG a priority

– Karen Wood, chair of South32, talks about what makes the company’s purpose and strategy resilient in unpredictable times.

Personal working norms

Podcast - McKinsey Global Institute

A happy warrior: Mellody Hobson on mentorship, diversity, and feedback

– The co-CEO of Ariel Investments shares honest thoughts about pushing for diversity in corporate America and reflects on her path to success.
Interview

Author Talks: April Rinne on finding calm and meaning in a world of flux

– When change is the only constant, a mindset shift can keep you grounded.
Interview

Author Talks: Michael Useem on leading with an edge

– How can leaders gain an elusive edge over competitors in a world turned upside down? Michael Useem draws lessons from ten executives... to build a road map for mastering leadership.
Blog Post

Lessons in leadership and well-being from Bill George

– The former Medtronic CEO and Harvard Business School professor joined McKinsey leaders for a conversation on how to create, protect,... and grow well-being practices on our teams and in our lives.
Interview

Author Talks: Hubert Joly on unleashing human magic

– The former chairman and CEO of Best Buy describes the leadership principles required to thrive in capitalism’s next era.
Interview

Author Talks: Josh Linkner on how everyday people can become everyday innovators

– In his new book, Josh Linkner offers a practical guide for turning ordinary ideas into extraordinary results.
Interview

Author Talks: Susan McPherson on building meaningful relationships—in business and in life

– In a new book, Susan McPherson offers a road map to unlocking a more meaningful life and enduring relationships.
Interview - McKinsey Quarterly

Making a daily ‘to be’ list: How a hospital system CEO is navigating the coronavirus crisis

– Cincinnati Children’s CEO Michael Fisher is communicating with purpose, leaning into tough choices, and emphasizing trust as he... leads through uncertainty.
Interview - McKinsey Quarterly

Speak softly, make tough decisions: An interview with Alibaba Group chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang

– The chairman and CEO of China’s e-commerce giant describes Alibaba’s approach to innovation and how he balances analytics... and instinct to push himself to spot hidden opportunities.

Crisis response

Article

Steady state: Prioritising stability in a volatile market

– How Santos CEO Kevin Gallagher led a comprehensive reform of the Australian energy company’s operating model.
Podcast

The 21st-century corporation: A conversation with Brian Chesky of Airbnb

– Airbnb’s CEO discusses how a company that flirted with demise during the pandemic turned its business around.
Podcast

‘They will know a culture—you can’t fake it’: An interview with Texas Medical Center president and CEO Bill McKeon

– The COVID-19 pandemic led one of the nation’s largest healthcare providers to work around the clock to connect data, testing... access, and supplies across various public and private entities.
Interview

Renesas’s Hidetoshi Shibata on leadership through difficult times

– A CEO discusses past and future strategy in the evolving semiconductor sector.
Video - McKinsey Global Institute

Nextdoor’s CEO on supporting communities through COVID-19

– The neighborhood app aims to create ‘strong weak ties’ during the crisis that help its neighbors persevere.
Interview - McKinsey Quarterly

Driving for resilience: An interview with the CEO of India’s Tata Motors

– Guenter Butschek, CEO of Tata Motors, shares his perspectives on the COVID-19-era challenges of leading a major global automotive... company based in India, and the opportunities just up the road.
Interview

‘Prepare for the marathon and be ready for the course to change’: An interview with the Boston Logan Airport CEO

– Massachusetts Port Authority CEO Lisa Wieland discusses why the contactless passenger journey is here to stay and how she’s building... agility and flexibility for her organization.
Interview

Medtech innovation in the time of COVID-19: Resilience and growth during a crisis

– COVID-19 is a threat but also a call to action for organizations improving the delivery of healthcare services. Executives from... four leading medtech firms share how they have thrived during this crisis by applying their business-building capabilities.
Interview

How Zoetis’s new CEO reset priorities and empowered employees during the pandemic

– Kristin Peck explains how letting local managers make their own decisions has helped the animal-health company to weather the... COVID-19 crisis successfully.