About Michael

Michael Birshan is a senior partner in McKinsey’s London office. He has also previously been based in the firm's San Francisco and Mumbai offices.

Michael leads the UK and Ireland hubs for McKinsey’s Strategy & Corporate Finance Practice and coleads the Corporate Strategy Service Line globally. He convenes McKinsey’s global CFO Forum, as well as the UK and Ireland Chief Strategist Roundtable series. Michael is also a core member of McKinsey’s Regulatory, Government, and Reputation Strategy special initiative and of the Global Forces and CFO Service Lines.

Michael serves FTSE 100 and other clients across a diverse set of industries on strategy and corporate-finance issues. The primary focus of his client service is working with global resources and energy clients across their top-management agendas, and he leads McKinsey’s Basic Materials Practice hub in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

For example, Michael recently supported a global mining business on a comprehensive strategic transformation including resetting its strategy, restructuring its organization, entering new markets, and taking out hundreds of millions of dollars of cost. He also worked with a global energy player on crafting its strategy, planning and executing a major transaction, successfully managing the integration, and transforming a number of its businesses—a journey that saw the company’s market capitalization increase several-fold over the period.

Beyond his direct client work, Michael regularly counsels CFOs and chief strategy officers across a variety of industries, particularly during their transitions into these roles. His thinking on strategic and financial topics is published in the McKinsey Quarterly and the Harvard Business Review blog network.

Before joining McKinsey, Michael served as an aide to a US Congressman and to a member of Canada’s Parliament. He was also a member of the British national debating team and a founding director of the World Schools Debating Championships.

Michael serves as a Commissioner of the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission, responsible to the UK Parliament for stewarding the US–UK Marshall Scholarships.

Published work

‘Superstars’: The dynamics of firms, sectors, and cities leading the global economy,” McKinsey Global Institute, October 2018

Closing the gender gap: A missed opportunity for new CEOs,” McKinsey Quarterly, October 2018

A deal-making strategy for new CEOs,” McKinsey Quarterly, April 2017

How functional leaders become CEOs,” McKinsey Quarterly, April 2017

What makes a CEO ‘exceptional’?,” McKinsey Quarterly, April 2017

Is your company underperforming? Use the full CEO playbook,” Strategy & Corporate Finance blog, March 2017

How insider CEOs can gain the outsider’s edge,” Strategy & Corporate Finance blog, November 2016

Lessons for new CEOs: Go big, go fast, or go home,” Strategy & Corporate Finance blog, June 2016

How new CEOs can boost their odds of success,” McKinsey Quarterly, May 2016

The cement industry at a turning point: A path toward value creation,” McKinsey & Company, December 2015

Is there hidden treasure in the mining industry?,” McKinsey & Company, November 2015

Rethinking the role of the strategist,” McKinsey Quarterly, November 2014

What strategists need: A meeting of the minds,” McKinsey Quarterly, September 2014

Preparing to make big-ticket investment decisions,” McKinsey & Company, July 2014

Get the strategy you need—now,” Harvard Business Review blog network, November 2013

Ten techniques for agile corporate resource allocation,” CFO.com, October 2013

Avoiding the quicksand: Ten techniques for more agile corporate resource allocation,” McKinsey Quarterly, October 2013

If you snooze, you lose: flexible, strategic finance,” Finance Director Europe, May 2013 (interview)

Becoming more strategic: Three tips for any executive,” McKinsey Quarterly, June 2012

Creating more value with corporate strategy: McKinsey Global Survey results,” McKinsey & Company, January 2011


Harvard Business School
MBA (Baker Scholar)

University of Oxford (Balliol College)
MA, philosophy, politics, and economics (double first class honors)