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Rodney W. Zemmel

Senior PartnerNew York

Global leader of McKinsey Digital. Works across industries to help shape strategy, improve performance, respond to market disruptions, and drive value creation through the power of data and analytics, digital culture, and modernized core technology

Rodney is the global leader of McKinsey Digital, serving clients across a range of industries on growth strategy, performance improvement, and value creation by harnessing the power of data and analytics, digital culture and capabilities, modernized core technology, and digital business building. McKinsey Digital now represents more than half of the firm’s client work, with more than 7,000 colleagues across 100 offices specialized in digital and analytics.

Previously, he was the managing partner for McKinsey’s northeast offices in the United States, which included our Boston, New York, and Stamford locations. Prior to that, he led McKinsey’s Healthcare Practice, working with clients in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and healthcare services. He also led the firm’s support for private-equity clients and other companies in consumer-facing industries.

Rodney is a recognized thought leader, writing articles that appear in leading business and technical publications, including Harvard Business Review and Nature Reviews. He is a coauthor of the books Go Long: Why Long-Term Thinking Is Your Best Short-Term Strategy (Wharton School Press, 2018) and Rewired: The McKinsey Guide to Outcompeting in the Age of Digital and AI, is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, and represents McKinsey at forums such as the National Association of Corporate Directors, CEO Academy, and other roundtables.

In addition, Rodney serves on the board of BritishAmerican Business and is an advisory board member of the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, which is focused on quantum technology, immunoengineering, and sustainability science.

Published work and videos

Getting it right: MLOps in energy and materials,” McKinsey & Company, May 2024

Steady progress in approaching the quantum advantage,” McKinsey & Company, April 2024

Choose the right transformation ‘bite size’,” McKinsey & Company, March 2024

MLOps so AI can scale,” McKinsey & Company, March 2024

A generative AI reset: Rewiring to turn potential into value in 2024,” McKinsey & Company, March 2024

Beyond the hype: New opportunities for gen AI in energy and materials,” McKinsey & Company, February 2024

Ten unsung digital and AI ideas shaping business,” McKinsey & Company, January 2024

What really works when it comes to digital and AI transformations?,” McKinsey & Company, July 2023

Rewired to outcompete,” McKinsey Quarterly, June 2023

The economic potential of generative AI: The next productivity frontier,” McKinsey & Company, June 2023

Quantum technology sees record investments, progress on talent gap,” McKinsey & Company, April 2023

What’s your superpower? How companies can build an institutional capability to achieve competitive advantage,” McKinsey & Company, March 2023

Digital transformations: The five talent factors that matter most,” McKinsey & Company, January 2023

Five lessons from AI on closing quantum’s talent gap—before it’s too late,” McKinsey & Company, December 2022

Digital twins: The foundation of the enterprise metaverse,” McKinsey & Company, October 2022

Digital resilience: Consumer survey finds ample scope for growth,” McKinsey & Company, October 2022

Digital transformation on the CEO agenda,” McKinsey & Company, May 2022

Forging your own path: Sandra Horbach on building a career in private equity,” McKinsey & Company, March 2022

The digital-value guardian: CEOs and digital transformations,” McKinsey & Company, December 2021

Quantum computing use cases are getting real—what you need to know,” McKinsey & Company, December 2021

Open-source e-commerce: The next wave of value for the enterprise,” McKinsey & Company, October 2021

How industrial companies can put e-commerce at the heart of their growth strategy,” McKinsey & Company, September 2021

How boards can help digital transformations,” McKinsey & Company, June 2021

Creating strong digital B2B channels at industrial companies,” McKinsey & Company, May 2021

Shifts in consumer behaviors,” video, McKinsey & Company, September 2020

Evolution in B2B selling,” video, McKinsey & Company, September 2020

What this means for the post-pandemic enterprise,” video, McKinsey & Company, September 2020

What this means for the role of the CIO,” video, McKinsey & Company, September 2020

The context for digital transformation,” video, McKinsey & Company, July 2020

Components of digital transformation,” video, McKinsey & Company, July 2020

Questions to guide digital transformation,” video, McKinsey & Company, July 2020

Safety and service in the packaging industry: An interview with the CEO of Sealed Air,” McKinsey & Company, July 2020

The digital-led recovery from COVID-19: Five questions for CEOs,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

Go Long: Why Long-Term Thinking Is Your Best Short-Term Strategy,” Wharton Digital Press, 2018

How leading CEOs manage their middle tenures,” McKinsey & Company, November 2018

Leading for the long term,” McKinsey & Company, June 2018

How successful CEOs manage their middle act,” Harvard Business Review, May-June 2018

Dennis Carey, Brian Dumaine, Michael Useem, and Rodney Zemmel, “Why CEOs should push back against short-termism,” Harvard Business Review, May 31, 2018

Changing the nature of board engagement,” McKinsey Quarterly, April 2015

How the best board directors stay involved,” Harvard Business Review, February 23, 2015

The road to positive R&D returns,” McKinsey & Company, February 2010

Invention reinvented: McKinsey perspectives on pharmaceutical R&D,” McKinsey perspectives on pharmaceutical R&D, 2010

Pharmaceutical R&D: the road to positive returns,” Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, August 1, 2009


Trinity College, University of Cambridge
PhD, molecular biology
BA; MA, natural sciences