Building Great CEOs

Explore McKinsey’s CEO counseling offerings, as well as our latest insights and learnings for current and future CEOs to unlock heightened performance.

The Role of the CEO


Starting strong: Making your CEO transition a catalyst for renewal

– The best CEOs use the first six to 12 months of their tenure as a moment of great personal transition and institutional renewal. There are four keys to success.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

A defining moment: How Europe’s CEOs can build resilience to grow in today’s economic maelstrom

– Can leaders lift their companies to the next frontier of resilience—not only to survive but also to thrive?

Where delegation fails: Five things only the enterprise CEO can do to build new businesses

– Business building is increasingly important for company resilience, and CEOs are uniquely suited for the job. Here are five tasks... that CEOs can undertake to build successful new businesses.

Voices of CEO excellence: Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman

– The chair and CEO of the financial services giant explains how he reshaped the firm in the wake of the financial crisis.
Interview - McKinsey Quarterly

‘Find the smartest technologist in the company and make them CEO’

In the first episode of the new The Quarterly Interview: Provocations to Ponder series, Silicon Valley’s... Marc Andreessen tackles tech trends like artificial intelligence, crypto, and Web3—and why incumbents still have a tough time competing with digital start-ups.

How McKinsey Works With CEOs

CEO Excellence

The CEO role is like no other and is the only truly peerless role in a company.

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.

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.

CEO Learning

What if the world’s highest-performing CEOs held a master class to share the skills and practices that have driven their... success over the years?

How CEOs Learn


Navigating inflation: A new playbook for CEOs

– Few chief executives have faced the challenge of leading a company through an inflationary spike like today’s. Lessons from strong leaders and bold action can help CEOs make the decisions that only they can make.

CEO brief: The future of business building in insurance

– Insurance executives must drive a shift in business from methodical to adaptive and faster.

How business operations can respond to price increases: A CEO guide

– Companies need better tools to tackle rising prices. CEOs can look for them across their business operations.

The labor market is upside down. Here’s what CEOs can do about it

– Business leaders can play a key role in easing labor market pressure and helping to make sustainable and inclusive growth a reality.

The CEO agenda in 2022: Harnessing the potential of growth jolts

– Despite uncertainties, the US economy is robust. The year ahead could jolt further growth.

The digital-value guardian: CEOs and digital transformations

– The CEO is ultimately the only one who can shape and guide a successful digital transformation. Here’s the playbook.

The CEO: Architect of the new operations agenda

– To thrive in a volatile and unpredictable postpandemic economy, companies need smarter, faster, more agile business operations.... That requires big changes—and commitment from the very top of the organization.

Books for CEOs

Perspectives from CEO Excellence

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Book - Featured Insights

CEO Excellence

What if the world’s highest-performing CEOs held a master class to share the skills and practices that have driven their success... over the years?

Leadership lessons from the world’s best CEOs

– The authors of the new book CEO Excellence, who interviewed dozens of the top-performing chief executives, share their... most memorable encounters and stories.

What separates the best CEOs from the rest?

– Three McKinsey senior partners looked across more than 20 years’ worth of data on 7,800 CEOs from 3,500 public companies... across 70 countries and 24 industries to identify the mindsets that helped top chief executives deliver extraordinary impact.

It’s time to pass the baton

– To solve decades-old issues, former presidential adviser David Gergen says we need fresh leadership—so he wrote a playbook... to guide the next generation of problem-solvers.

David Fubini on hidden truths for CEOs

– In his new book, David Fubini provides a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to be a superior leader.

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.

Leading Off

Start each Monday ready to take on the leadership challenges of the coming week. Revealing research, inspiring interviews, and insightful quotations to empower you and those you lead. Subscribe to this weekly newsletter to get it all.

CEO Interviews

Leading from the heart: How Freshworks’ CEO built a global tech unicorn

– Girish Mathrubootham, CEO of the India-born, US-headquartered software-as-a-service start-up believes that this is the decade for India as a product nation.

‘A CEO cannot micromanage’: An interview with Jackson Health CEO Carlos Migoya

– Times of crisis call for communication, humbleness, and flexibility.

Leapfrogging a generation: Talking with GB Agboola, CEO of Flutterwave

– The cofounder of the Lagos-based fintech shares his perspectives on the nuanced dynamics of payments competition and innovation in Africa.

What resilience means to Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar

– For Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar, resilience requires diverse perspectives, local solutions, playbooks to help anticipate the unexpected, and a regard for unforeseen consequences.

Author Talks: Indra Nooyi on leadership, life, and crafting a better future

– The trailblazing former CEO of PepsiCo discusses the events that shaped her life and offers a blueprint for work–family conundrums.

Moderna’s path to vaccine innovation: A talk with CEO Stéphane Bancel

– Moderna’s delivery of a COVID-19 vaccine comes on the heels of revolutionary science that may accelerate innovation across the industry well into the future.

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.

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.

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.

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.

McKinsey Classics for Future CEOs

Article - McKinsey Quarterly

How functional leaders become CEOs

– Limited operational experience is not necessarily a barrier to the top job. Here’s what CFOs and others must do to jump... to the next level.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

What makes a CEO ‘exceptional’?

– We assessed the early moves of CEOs with outstanding track records; some valuable lessons for leadership transitions emerged.
Blog Post

Lessons for new CEOs: Go big, go fast, or go home

– My colleagues Kurt Strovink, Thomas Meakin, and I analyzed the major moves over 600 CEOs took during their first two years in... the role. We then assessed how those moves influenced the company’s returns and the CEOs’ tenure. Here are some of the lessons we drew from the data.

Related Insights

McKinsey on Books

Explore this month’s best-selling business books, prepared exclusively for McKinsey Publishing by NPD, and a collection of books by McKinsey authors on the management issues that matter.

McKinsey Academy

Connected Leaders Academy

Advance racial equity by investing in future leaders

Black Leadership Academy Experience

Helping to accelerate the progression of Black leaders in their organizations

Product Academy

Product Academy offers real and actionable content from leading-edge product practitioners for anyone interested in learning more... about product.