McKinsey leader voted out in wake of opioid settlement: report

Kevin Sneader
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McKinsey & Co’s partners voted to replace its global managing partner, Kevin Sneader, in the wake of the consulting giant’s $573 million opioid settlement, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

Sneader reportedly failed to get enough support after a first round of voting to move to the final round.

The vote makes Sneader the first McKinsey leader in recent decades to not win a second term at the firm, the newspaper noted, adding that he was voted in three years ago.

The firm will decide on his replacement in a final voting round, which takes place in March, the sources told the Journal. 

The reported change comes a few weeks after McKinsey announced that it will pay $573 million to settle claims from multiple states that the company recommended drug manufacturers boost opioid sales during the epidemic. 

As part of the settlement, McKinsey did not admit to misconduct, but implemented court-ordered restrictions on its consulting involving narcotics.

The Journal reported that Sneader wrote a letter to employees about the settlement in which he criticized the firm for falling short of its standards. Sneader also wrote that the firm “did not adequately acknowledge the epidemic unfolding in our communities or the terrible impact of opioid misuse and addiction, and for that I am deeply sorry.”

People familiar with the matter told the newspaper that some partners felt the language of the letter was too strong. They also didn’t like the changes that Sneader oversaw for approving new clients and his settlement for its work with opioid makers.

McKinsey also drew scrutiny over its work with autocratic foreign governments such as Saudi Arabia, the Journal noted. The firm reached a settlement with the Department of Justice in December over how it handles potential conflicts of interest.

It was also reportedly involved in coming up with a strategy to shift Saudi Arabia’s economy away from its reliance on oil.

“Every three years, McKinsey’s senior partners elect one of their colleagues to serve as the firm’s global managing partner,” a McKinsey spokesperson said in an email to The Hill. “The election, which is conducted by an independent third-party firm, is now underway and we will announce the result after the election concludes.”

Tags McKinsey & Company Opioid opioid settlement

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