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A Final Bow to McKinsey's High Priest


By John A. Byrne

NOT A DESTROYER. In establishing the firm's core values, Bower was sometimes dogmatic and autocratic. "He could be a fearsome character if he felt you were doing something wrong," recalls Jon Katzenbach, a former McKinsey senior partner. "He was very tough on people in the firm if he thought they were behaving in nonprofessional ways." Adds Daniel, who was managing partner of McKinsey from 1976 to 1988: "He was intimidating, but he didn't destroy your soul. He was the best person I ever saw give critical feedback to someone. He could criticize your work but always left the human being intact."

Though Bower was a man of small stature, his example loomed large. He always wrote up his own interview notes, a task that most McKinsey partners would hand to their associates. And unlike most of his partners, Bower was known to keep his calendar, make his appointments, answer his phone, place his own calls, and edit his own documents.

For decades, Bower would routinely board the 7:32 a.m. commuter train that whisked him from his adopted hometown of Bronxville, N.Y., to Grand Central Station, then quickly march the few blocks to McKinsey's offices. Imm


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