About Aaron

Aaron De Smet is a partner in McKinsey’s Houston office and leads our work on organization design in the Americas. Aaron has counseled senior executives in more than a dozen major transformations and is an expert on organizational health, leadership development, and cultural change.

Much of Aaron’s work focuses on helping large distributed healthcare or science-based companies to achieve operational improvements. He serves clients across a number of industries, including healthcare services and health solutions, chemicals and advanced materials, agriculture, biotech, and pharmaceuticals.

Aaron’s recent projects include helping a leading healthcare institution to restructure and improve its governance; building change management skills among managers and change agents at a large chemical company undergoing a multi-year performance transformation; and advising a utility company on the development and implementation of a major organizational redesign to reduce costs, improve customer service, and maximize scale benefits.

Before joining McKinsey, Aaron worked at a number of other consultancies and as an independent consultant, and served as a research associate at the Institute for Behavior Resources. He has a PhD in social and organizational psychology from Columbia University, where he specialized in organizational dynamics, culture, human resource management, leadership effectiveness, and strategic change. He also has a master’s degree in organizational psychology and an MBA.

Aaron is a prolific writer on organizational topics and has published many articles in McKinsey Quarterly and elsewhere.

Published work

Getting organizational redesign right,” McKinsey Quarterly, June 2015

The past and future of global organizations,” McKinsey Quarterly, September 2014

Tom Peters on leading the 21st-century organization,” McKinsey Quarterly, September 2014

The hidden value of organizational health—and how to capture it,” McKinsey Quarterly, April 2014

Making time management the organization’s priority,” McKinsey Quarterly, January 2013

Developing better change managers,” McKinsey Quarterly, April 2012

Getting more from your training programs,” McKinsey Quarterly, October 2010

Unlocking the potential of frontline managers,” McKinsey Quarterly, August 2009

The missing link: Connecting organizational and financial performance,” McKinsey & Company, 2007


Columbia University
PhD, social and organizational psychology

Columbia University
MPhil, organizational psychology

Southern Oregon University
MBA, management and finance

Southern Oregon University
BS, psychology