Goldman Sachs appoints Kevin Sneader co-head of APAC business

13 September 2021 Consultancy.asia 3 min. read
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Former McKinsey & Company global managing partner Kevin Sneader has been tapped to co-lead the Asia Pacific operations of Goldman Sachs, with Sneader returning to Hong Kong.

Goldman Sachs has appointed the former McKinsey chief as the co-President of its Asia-Pacific operations. Prior to being elected McKinsey’s global managing partner in 2018 – he was succeeded by the American Bob Sternfels after one term – Sneader served for four and a half years as the management consultancy’s Asia Chairman out of Hong Kong, where he will return with Goldman Sachs.

The bank’s CEO David Solomon in a memo to staff touted Sneader’s work with global clients in multiple industries and functions for more than three decades. “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.

Kevin Sneader, President of Asia-Pacific, Goldman Sachs

After altogether 32 years at McKinsey & Company, Sneader will from November 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. “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,” Sneader said.

Sneader is largely seen as the fall-guy for McKinsey’s recent reputational issues after inheriting a string of international scandals, including accusations against the firm for its involvement in the US opioid crisis – costing it more than $600 million in settlements to date. Upon his appointment, Sneader set about a program of cultural reform at McKinsey (likely ruffling some feathers along the way), before being moved on to grant the consultancy a ‘fresh start’.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs is attempting to recover from its own reputational damage in Asia, after itself paying out more than $5 billion in settlements for its central role in Malaysia’s 1MDB state investment fund scandal, which has also ensnared the likes of Deloitte and KPMG. Alongside BCG, McKinsey was one of a number of big-time advisers to 1MDB predecessor Terengganu Investment Authority, although the firm hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, Sneader isn’t the only recent McKinsey global managing partner to be tapped as a bridge between North America and East Asia, with predecessor Dominic Barton – also a former Asia chairman for the consultancy – currently serving as Canadian ambassador to China, appointed during a period of testy diplomatic relations between the two nations. Prior to that he served as a director with Singaporean telco Singtel.