> Skip to content
  • Published: 5 October 2022
  • ISBN: 9781847926265
  • Imprint: Bodley Head
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $35.00

When McKinsey Comes to Town

The Hidden Influence of the World's Most Powerful Consulting Firm




From Enron to the opioid scandal, an explosive, deeply-reported exposé that shows how McKinsey's has made the world more unequal, more corrupt and more dangerous over the last sixty years

McKinsey & Co. earns billions of dollars in fees from major corporations and governments who turn to them to maximize their profits and enhance efficiency. Their vaunted statement of values asserts their role is to make the world a better place, and their reputation for excellence and discretion attracts top talent from universities around the world. McKinsey's network is immense: almost 80% of the Fortune 500 and every government, as well as countless militaries, institutions and charities, including the NHS, have paid for and implemented their top secret and world-shaping advice. So what is that advice? And what effect has it actually had?

In WHEN MCKINSEY COMES TO TOWN, two prize-winning investigative journalists reveal the truth behind the public image. Often McKinsey's advice boils down to major cost-cutting, including layoffs and maintenance reductions, to drive up short term profits, thereby boosting the stock price and the wealth of the executives who hire them, at the expense of workers, and safety measures. They frequently recommend steering contracts from governments to their own clients, and just as frequently advise companies in the same industries.

Shielded by NDAs, McKinsey has escaped public scrutiny despite their role in advising tobacco companies, purveyors of opioids, repressive governments and oil companies. McKinsey helped insurance companies boost their profits by essentially making it impossible for accident victims to get payments; worked their U.S. government contacts to let Wall Street firms evade scrutiny; enabled massive theft in developing countries such as South Africa; reshaped the NHS. Their work has helped destabilize the global economy and divided society, and has been at the heart of some of the worst corporate scandals in history: from Enron to the Opioid Crisis.

Bognadich and Forsythe have managed to penetrate the veil of secrecy McKinsey by conducting hundreds of interviews, obtaining tens of thousands of revelatory documents, and following rule #1 of investigative reporting: Follow the money. WHEN MCKINSEY COMES TO TOWN is a landmark work of investigative reporting that amounts to a devastating portrait of a firm whose work has made the world more unequal, more corrupt, and more dangerous.

A gripping narrative of secrecy, greed and corruption, this is the story of where and how business went wrong in the modern era.

  • Published: 5 October 2022
  • ISBN: 9781847926265
  • Imprint: Bodley Head
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $35.00

About the authors

Walt Bogdanich

WALT BOGDANICH is an investigative reporter for The New York Times. He has been awarded three Pulitzer Prizes for his investigative journalism. He previously produced stories for "60 Minutes," ABC News and The Wall Street Journal in New York and Washington. He has a B.A. in political science from the University of Wisconsin and a master's degree in journalism from Ohio State University.

Michael Forsythe

MICHAEL FORSYTHE is an investigative reporter for The New York Times. At Forbes was part of a team that won the George Polk Award in 2013. Mr. Forsythe is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, where he served on ships in the Seventh Fleet. He has a B.A. in international economics from Georgetown University and a Master's degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard University.

Related titles