On July 4 of that year, two McKinsey senior partners on the Purdue account exchanged emails discussing possibly “eliminating all our documents and emails” to head off repercussions the firm might face. That exchange was a key part of the settlement states made with McKinsey this month. McKinsey did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement, but both senior partners — who would have been voting in the election of Mr. Sneader’s successor — were fired. “We deeply regret that we did not adequately acknowledge the tragic consequences of the epidemic unfolding in our communities,” Mr. Sneader said this month. “With this agreement, we hope to be part of the solution to the opioid crisis in the U.S.”
During his watch, Mr. Sneader oversaw the introduction of measures aimed at preventing controversial projects, including new procedures on reviewing prospective clients. But he could also be a staunch defender of McKinsey in the wake of scandal, including its extensive work in Saudi Arabia, which came under intense scrutiny in late 2018 after The Times disclosed that a McKinsey employee, in a written report, had identified influential critics of the Saudi government and that several of those critics or their family members were later arrested.
Mr. Sternfels — who, like Mr. Barton, was a Rhodes scholar — runs many of the firm’s technology-focused initiatives and is also the senior partner overseeing McKinsey’s bankruptcy restructuring practice. That work has been the focus of lawsuits in recent years. In 2019, the firm agreed to pay $15 million in a settlement with the Justice Department to resolve allegations that it failed to properly disclose potential conflicts of interest stemming from its bankruptcy work.
Mr. Smit is a co-chairman of the McKinsey Global Institute, the firm’s in-house think tank.
A spokesman for McKinsey wouldn’t comment on the specifics of the election, saying in a statement: “The election, which is conducted by an independent third-party firm, is now underway and we will announce the result after the election concludes.”
Walt Bogdanich contributed reporting.