Partners at McKinsey & Company voted out the consulting firm’s top executive, Kevin Sneader, this week as it continues to face blowback over its role in fueling the opioid crisis.
The decision to deny Mr. Sneader a second three-year term as global managing partner came in a vote by more than 600 senior partners, according to a company executive. Earlier this month, McKinsey had agreed to pay 49 states a historic settlement of almost $600 million because of sales advice the company had given to drugmakers.
It is highly unusual for a sitting managing partner at McKinsey to be refused a follow-on term. The last time a firm leader was denied a second term was in 1976, according to the company’s internal history book.
Mr. Sneader, 54, did not even make it to the final round of balloting, according to the company executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The final candidates for Mr. Sneader’s replacement are Bob Sternfels, based in San Francisco, and Sven Smit, based in Amsterdam. The shake-up at the prestigious consulting firm was first reported by The Financial Times.
Mr. Sneader’s term was turbulent from the start, as he tried to deal with controversies stemming from client work that had been undertaken during the nine-year tenure of his predecessor, Dominic Barton, now Canada’s ambassador to China. The issues Mr. Sneader had to reckon with went far beyond the deadly opioid crisis.
Days into his new job in July 2018, Mr. Sneader flew to South Africa to apologize for the firm’s work with a state-owned power provider. McKinsey’s lucrative contract, found to be in violation of South African contracting law, involved the use of a local intermediary tied to a corruption scandal that brought down the country’s president. McKinsey has returned tens of millions of dollars in fees it earned in South Africa.