14th October 2021

The drama of COVID-19 has cast leaders in new roles.


The job of CFO has been transformed by the pandemic, according to the latest McKinsey Global Survey. Crisis management, social and environmental issues, and the accelerated adoption of technology are occupying time previously devoted to strategic leadership and finance capabilities. Between 2016 and 2021, the share of finance leaders who say that they are responsible for their companies’ digital activities has more than tripled. Procurement, board engagement, and investor relations are also newly important focuses for CFOs (exhibit).


CFOs cite increasing oversight over key areas of the business.

We’re all tech executives now, to some extent. Across industries, competitive differentiation today emerges from superior digital capabilities and technology endowment, more agile delivery, and a progressively more tech-savvy C-suite. To better understand how leading banks achieve more with their technology budget, we looked at how their workforce is configured, on three dimensions: spending, roles, and talent. Banks that have reconfigured all three have achieved a significant uptick in output from their technology budgets. Consumer-packaged-goods (CPG) manufacturers must leverage digital and analytical capability to accelerate productivity. CPG companies must also unravel the conundrum of e-commerce, which offers a growth channel but not necessarily a profitable one. On the McKinsey on Consumer and Retail podcast, McKinsey’s Lidiya Chapple and Tatiana Sivaeva explain how CPG companies can profitably meet online consumers’ needs.

McKinsey’s annual report on North American asset managers, whose industry profits reached close to $73 billion in 2020, highlights ways in which the industry’s role is changing. Investors increasingly want their asset managers to expose them to opportunities outside of traditional asset classes and industry sectors. Asset managers are getting more help from technology-enabled mass customization, which can broaden access to value propositions that have typically been the preserve of institutional and high-net-worth investors.

Here are some of this week’s other key findings from our research:

Our Author Talks series features Indra Nooyi, former chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, about her new book “My Life in Full: Work, Family, and Our Future” (Penguin Random House, September 2021). Reflecting on her own experience, the first woman of color and immigrant to run a Fortune 50 company argues that winning the war for talent requires creating a new system in which women can both manage their families and climb to the top at work.

This briefing note was edited by Katy McLaughlin, a senior editor in the Southern California office.


Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic