Former McKinsey boss Kevin Sneader joins Goldman Sachs

17 September 2021 3 min. read
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The former Global Managing Partner of McKinsey & Company has been tapped to co-lead the Asia Pacific wing of Goldman Sachs. The move sees Kevin Sneader relocate to Hong Kong.

Sneader commented, “It is particularly exciting to be joining at a time when tackling the complexity and capturing the opportunities of Asia have never been more important for clients inside and outside the region.”

Goldman Sachs will install the former McKinsey & Company chief as co-President of its Asia Pacific operations. From November, Sneader will work alongside Goldman stalwart and current Asia Pacific president Todd Leland (who joined the bank in New York in 1992), to help drive its expansion agenda in the region.

Prior to his time at the top of McKinsey, Sneader spent four years as the management consultancy’s Asia Chairman from Hong Kong – meaning it is a part of the world he is well acquainted with. Acknowledging this experience, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon noted Sneader’s work with global clients for more than three decades.

In a memo to staff, Solomon added, “He brings significant international experience and a wealth of expertise to the firm across strategy, organisation and operations,” wrote Solomon, adding that Sneader would help manage day-to-day operations and advance the bank’s business in the region, including in China.”

Former McKinsey boss Kevin Sneader joins Goldman Sachs

The news sees Sneader call time on a 32-year association with McKinsey. The privately-held company is led by a Global Managing Partner, elected every three years by the firm’s partnership, and earlier in 2021, McKinsey’s partners sent shockwaves through the consulting world, when they opted not to re-select Sneader for the top job. The news saw Sneader become the first Global Managing Partner to serve only one term in 40 years – as he took the fall for a series of scandals which pre-dated his leadership. 

His time at the head of McKinsey was a tumultuous one. Sneader’s predecessors had presided over a period where the firm was buffeted by a series of damaging scandals – including the infamous Gupta family saga. On top of this, the high-profile reputation crisis of the firm was perhaps by a much-written about opioid settlement, which related to work McKinsey delivered over a decade ago.

Goldman Sachs is attempting to recover from its own reputational damage in Asia, having been embroiled in a major scandal of its own. The firm paid out more than $5 billion in settlements for its central role in a 1MDB state investment fund gate in Malaysia, which has also ensnared the likes of Deloitte and KPMG.

As Sneader works to help Goldman Sachs with its damage control in the region, he is not the only recent McKinsey global managing partner to be working as a go-between in North America and East Asia. His predecessor Dominic Barton – also a former Asia Chairman for McKinsey – now serves as Canadian ambassador to China, appointed during a period of testy diplomatic relations between the two nations.