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?

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.
Interview Collection

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.
Article Collection

CEO Insights

McKinsey latest thinking to provide CEOs with insights on corporate strategy, organization and team, external stakeholders and board management, and their own ways of working.

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.

Candidate CEOs preparing for role

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

Transitioning 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.







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.

Featured experts

Carolyn Dewar
Senior Partner, Bay Area
Delivers large-scale performance-improvement programs that foster culture change and counsels senior executives making leadership...
Blair Epstein
Partner, Bay Area
Helps business leaders transform their organization at scale and build a healthy culture of high performance and continuous improvement
Scott Keller
Senior Partner, Southern California
Counsels Fortune 100 leadership teams on enterprise-level transformation, culture-change programs, top-team performance, and CEO...
Gautam Kumra
Senior Partner and Chairman - Asia, Singapore
Chairman of McKinsey’s offices in Asia; helps McKinsey’s clients in Asia create change that matters, by building leading institutions...
Vik Malhotra
Senior Partner, New York
Focuses on counseling CEOs and Boards on performance transformation, corporate strategy, governance, growth strategies, organizational...
Joydeep Sengupta
Senior Partner, Singapore
Leads McKinsey’s Center for CEO Excellence in Asia and works with leading companies to transform their businesses
Sander Smits
Senior Partner, Amsterdam
Transforms operational performance and optimizes research and development for leading companies in the advanced industries sector
Mukund Sridhar
Senior Partner, Singapore
Supports large Asian conglomerates and business groups through digital business building and analytics transformations; leads...
Kurt Strovink
Senior Partner, New York
Coleads our global CEO Initiative to help build great CEOs and CEO counselors; serves life insurance, asset and wealth management,...

Related practice

People & Organizational Performance

We work shoulder-to-shoulder with our clients to ensure their organizations are capable of achieving the transformation they want and sustaining it for years to come.

Connect with our Strategy & Corporate Finance Practice