This is a profile image of Michael Birshan

Michael Birshan

Senior PartnerLondon

Global coleader of our Strategy & Corporate Finance Practice, partnering with bold and determined leaders to set strategy, transform organizations, and deliver sustainable value

Michael co-leads McKinsey’s Strategy & Corporate Finance Practice globally. He also serves on the McKinsey Global Institute council – which advises on MGI’s research on global economic, business, and technology trends – as well as the committee that develops and evaluates our partners around the world.

Michael partners with bold and determined executives to set strategy, transform organizations, and deliver sustainable value. He has served companies around the world at the board and executive-committee levels across a diverse set of industries, as well as institutions in the public and social sectors, and his work is often shaped by insights and analogies from other contexts. Michael’s deepest sector expertise is in energy, natural resources, and industrials, where he works with several of the leading global organizations across their agenda.

Passionate about helping talented executives to succeed as individuals – particularly as they take on new roles – Michael co-leads McKinsey’s research on CEO excellence, as well as MGI’s research on companies in the 21st century. His perspectives have been published and cited in the McKinsey Quarterly, Harvard Business Review, and Financial Times, among other leading publications.

Michael is a director of BritishAmerican Business, a governor of the Royal College of Art and the British Film Institute, and a former trustee of the Marshall Scholarships and the World Schools Debating Championships. In 2016, he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Based in London, Michael previously worked in McKinsey’s San Francisco and Mumbai offices. He studied Philosophy, Politics & Economics at the University of Oxford and holds an MBA with High Distinction from Harvard Business School.

Published work

Can your company remain global and if so, how?,” McKinsey Quarterly, May 2024

How shockproof is your supply chain, really?,” McKinsey & Company, April 2024

Insights driving impact: Five themes to get right in 2024,” blog entry, McKinsey & Company, February 2024

A different high-growth story: The unique challenges of climate tech,”  McKinsey Quarterly, January 2024

Geopolitics and the geometry of global trade, McKinsey Global Institute, January 2024

A new paradigm for our connected world?,” McKinsey & Company, November 2023

Courageous growth: Six strategies for continuous growth outperformance,” McKinsey & Company, October 2023

Why the path of global wealth and growth matters for strategy,” McKinsey & Company, August 2023

Leading through uncertainty in the energy and materials sectors,” McKinsey & Company, July 2023

The future of wealth and growth hangs in the balance, McKinsey Global Institute, May 2023

Deciphering the economy’s mixed signals,” McKinsey & Company, May 2023

How ambidextrous leaders manage through volatile times,” McKinsey & Company, January 2023

Starting up as a new CFO,” McKinsey & Company, January 2023

2023, a testing year: Will the macro-scenario range widen or narrow?,” McKinsey & Company, January 2023

Innovation: Your solution for weathering uncertainty,” McKinsey & Company, January 2023

Global balance sheet 2022: Enter volatility,” McKinsey Global Institute, December 2022

Designing out of difficult times,” McKinsey & Company, December 2022

Global flows: The ties that bind in an interconnected world,” McKinsey Global Institute, November 2022

Resilient performance management in volatile times,” blog entry, McKinsey & Company, November 2022

Four front-foot strategies to help create value in the net-zero transition,” McKinsey & Company, September 2022

Strategic courage in an age of volatility,” McKinsey & Company, August 2022

Choosing to grow: The leader’s blueprint,” McKinsey & Company, July 2022

Reflections on 20 years of McKinsey on Finance—and three challenges ahead,” McKinsey Quarterly, June 2022

Playing offense to create value in the net-zero transition,” McKinsey & Company, April 2022

"Measuring business: Accounting for companies' value creation and societal impact," VoxEU, March 2022

"The rise and rise of the global balance sheet: How productively are we using our wealth?," McKinsey Global Institute, November 2021 

The corporation in the 21st century,” McKinsey & Company, November 2021

Lessons on resilience for small and midsize businesses,” Harvard Business Review, June 2021

A new look at how corporations impact the economy and households,” McKinsey Global Institute, June 2021

The necessity of doing well by doing good,” The Milken Institute Review, April 2021

Will productivity and growth return after the COVID-19 crisis?,” McKinsey Global Institute, March 2021

Investors remind business leaders: Governance matters,” McKinsey & Company, October 2020

Memo to the CFO: A new approach to 2021 budgeting starts now,” McKinsey & Company, September 2020

Risk, resilience, and rebalancing in global value chains,” McKinsey Global Institute, August 2020

How new CEOs can manage for the future,” McKinsey & Company, March 2020

The secret to unlocking hidden value in the balance sheet,” McKinsey & Company, March 2020

Short-term pain for long-term gain: The new CEO’s dilemma,” McKinsey Quarterly, April 2019

What every CEO needs to know about ‘superstar’ companies,” McKinsey Global Institute, April 2019

What’s driving superstar companies, industries, and cities,” Harvard Business Review, October 2018

‘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

Transforming the culture of managing working capital,” McKinsey & Company, January 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

CEO transitions: The science of success,” McKinsey Quarterly, August 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

What makes a great chief strategy officer,” Harvard Business Review, May 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, November 2013

Ten techniques for agile corporate resource allocation,”, 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