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Aaron De Smet

Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company

Aaron counsels leadership teams as they transform their organizations to improve performance, organizational health, speed, and agility.

He is also an expert on organizational design, corporate culture, leadership development, team effectiveness, capability building, and transformational change.

Much of Aaron’s work focuses on helping large distributed organizations to achieve growth, innovation, productivity, and organizational agility. He serves clients across several industries, including agriculture, biotechnology, chemicals, energy, financial services, and healthcare.

Examples of Aaron’s recent client work include the following:

  • helping a Fortune 50 healthcare company to improve its organizational health and agility, including culture change, governance, and decision making, as well as upskilling leadership capabilities, as part of a new operating model and restructuring plan to drive significant growth in existing and new segments
  • simplifying and flattening the organizational structure of a large financial-services institution to improve its productivity, efficiency, decision making, and employee engagement
  • developing agile processes for a product-line organization at a global chemical company— overhauling the structure and business processes, upgrading talent and capabilities, and streamlining decision making and governance—which delivered lower costs and double-digit revenue growth
  • helping to architect and execute a major operational and cultural transformation in a global manufacturing organization to improve its operational performance (reliability, costs, and quality) significantly
  • turning around the performance and culture of a petrochemical-manufacturing plant on the verge of being shut down
  • leading a cross-functional team of executives at a large pharmaceutical and consumer health-products company to build strategic resilience into critical operations

Aaron, who writes frequently about organizational topics, has published many articles in McKinsey Quarterly and elsewhere. He is a member of the master faculty of the Change Leaders Forum and of the Organizational Agility Forum, which he helped establish. He has also led McKinsey’s thinking on organizational health and was on the teams that developed the Organizational Health Index (OHI), OrgLab, and Influencer.

Before joining McKinsey, Aaron worked at several other consultancies, as an independent consultant, and served as a research associate at the Institute for Behavior Resources. He has a PhD in social and organizational psychology from Columbia University, where he specialized in organizational dynamics, culture, human-resource management, leadership effectiveness, and strategic change.

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