McKinsey gambled by apologising to South Africa for its role in the developing State Capture scandal. But from the mood of 165 people in the GIBS auditorium, it lost.
New global managing partner Kevin Sneader is dealing with what rugby players call a hospital pass. To his credit, he stepped into a fire avoided by other global firms involved in South African State Capture like KPMG, SAP, Hogan Lovells, HSBC and a Chinese locomotive manufacturer.
After witnessing the roasting McKinsey received today, you have to wonder whether CEOs of other multinationals have the bottle to follow Sneader onto this kind of public platform. Or, indeed, whether McKinsey itself will continue on the current course of owning up, profusely apologising, but still taking the hits.
Perhaps now that it has repaid Eskom, the consulting firm will start to reconsider whether it is worth remaining involved in a South Africa that's quite obviously not in a forgiving mood.