With 18 years in the office, the CEO of Wolters Kluwer Nancy McKinstry is one of the longest serving CEOs of a global listed company. In discussion with SparkOptimus managing partner Alexandra Jankovich, McKinstry reflects on the different transformations she’s led the company through, and the importance of having commitment and a good team in place to build on.
When Nancy McKinstry took over as CEO of Wolters Kluwer, the company still was a traditional print publisher. Fast forward close to two decades, and under her leadership the Netherlands-headquartered group has undergone a radical transformation in its business model and organisation into what today is a provider of professional information, software solutions, and services with €4.6 billion in revenue (2020).
McKinstry’s vision and leadership have seen her land multiple recognitions (including being listed as one of the best CEOs in the world).
During the 40-minute interview with SparkOptimus co-founder Alexandra Jankovich, the CEO opens up on some of the transitions that have shaped Wolters Kluwer, and the achievements she is most proud of herself.
Among the transformations the two executives walk through are: how Wolters Kluwer’s reinvented itself through a new strategy and innovative business models (supported by 100+ acquisitions and divestments during McKinstry’s tenure), how the company shifted to a customer-first approach (the group serves professionals in health, tax, legal, financial services), and how it digitally transformed its entire operations into an agile and digital-first approach.
McKinstry – who enjoyed a background in strategy consulting before moving into industry – also sheds light on the immense people transformation the company has gone through – when she took office, the majority of employees were media and research experts, today the company’s talent backbone is made up of tech talent.
Other matters that Jankovich and McKinstry elaborate on include two topics that also at a personal level are important to McKinstry: diversity and sustainability.
The full 40-minute interview with Nancy can be found below:
About Nancy McKinstry
Nancy McKinstry is chief executive officer and chairman of the Executive Board of Wolters Kluwer since September 1, 2003. Having transformed Wolters Kluwer into a global information services company, McKinstry has repeatedly been recognised as one of the most powerful women in business, including the 2017 Fortune’s International Most Powerful Women in Business.
Alongside her role at Wolters Kluwer, McKinstry is a member of the Board of Directors of Abbott, the Board of Directors of Accenture and the Board of Directors of Russell Reynolds Associates. McKinstry is also a member of the European Round Table of Industrialists and a member of the Board of Overseers of Columbia Business School.
About Alexandra Jankovich
Alexandra Jankovich is managing partner at digital strategy consultancy SparkOptimus, which she co-founded after previously serving McKinsey & Company and holding several senior digital management positions across the US and Europe. She is a member of various supervisory boards and has published the bestselling book ‘Make Disruption Work’.