Cesare R. Mainardi is a business strategy author, professor, and the former Chief Executive Officer of global management consultancy Booz & Company.
Mr. Mainardi is the principal architect of an intuitive and highly effective approach to corporate strategy known as Capabilities-Driven Strategy. He has coauthored three books on the subject, all published by Harvard Business Review Press: Strategy That Works: How Winning Companies Close the Strategy-to-Execution Gap (2016), The Essential Advantage: How to Win with a Capabilities-Driven Strategy (2010), and Cut Costs and Grow Stronger (2009). He has also coauthored several articles published in leading journals such as Harvard Business Review and strategy+business, including “The Coherence Premium,” “The Right to Win,” and “The Capabilities Premium in M&A.” Mr. Mainardi is a member of The Wall Street Journal’s “The Experts” panel of industry and thought leaders and is a contributor to Fortune and Forbes. A graduate of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, he is a longstanding Adjunct Professor of Strategy there, as well as a member of the school’s Global Advisory Board.
Until July 2015, Mr. Mainardi was the Chief Executive Officer of Booz & Company (now PwC’s Strategy& and formerly the commercial business of Booz Allen Hamilton). He joined the firm’s Cleveland office in 1986 and in 1993 became the firm’s youngest partner at age 30. He held a succession of leadership and board positions at Booz Allen Hamilton, culminating in being named president of the U.S. commercial business. In this role he spearheaded a major turnaround, enabling the successful sale of the government business to the Carlyle Group for $2.54 billion and the spin-off of the global commercial business as a standalone firm in 2008. At the new firm, Booz & Company, he served as managing director of North America and then global chief operating officer before being elected global CEO in April 2012.
As CEO, Mr. Mainardi was among the first to recognize the wave of convergence sweeping management consulting. To deliver greater value to global clients and help shape the future of the industry, he crafted a bold strategy to create the world’s leading strategy-to-execution firm by combining with PwC. The completion of this deal in April 2014 marked a milestone in the evolution of the professional services industry.
In his 30 years as a management consultant, Mr. Mainardi helped some of the world’s preeminent companies craft and implement innovative strategies grounded in what they do best—their differentiating capabilities. Among his most notable client engagements, he helped transform a consumer products company to reduce its costs by $1 billion, propelling it into the list of top 15 Fortune 500 companies for total return to shareholders over five years. He led a successful turnaround for a manufacturer of automotive components described by analysts as "a modern business miracle." He led the creation and execution of a Capabilities–Driven Strategy for a division of a global pharmaceutical company that resulted in it being sold for 21 times EBITDA. And he did the same for a global food company, successfully tripling its enterprise value.
Mr. Mainardi was born and raised in Rome and moved to the United States for college. He attended Northwestern University in Chicago and earned, in six years, a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering, a Master’s degree in manufacturing engineering, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management. He is married and has three children.