Damien I. O'Brien

Zurich, London, Sydney

consultant name

Damien I. O'Brien Egon Zehnder, Zurich, London, Sydney


Damien joined Egon Zehnder in Sydney, Australia in 1988 and during his 29-year career with the Firm he has been based in the Firm’s Hong Kong, London, Paris and Zurich offices. His global leadership responsibilities have included oversight for the Firm’s global industry and functional practices, global operations, and professional development. His main practice areas have included private equity, resources and Board Advisory. He has also played a key role in the development of the Firm’s leadership assessment and development practice. Earlier in his career he led the establishment of Egon Zehnder’s China practice, which today comprises offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing.


Damien served as the Chief Executive Officer of Egon Zehnder from 2008 until 2014 when he appointed Rajeev Vasudeva to succeed him. He was elected to his current role as Chairman of Egon Zehnder in 2010. He is a member of the Chairman's Community of the World Economic Forum and he is on the Board of IMD. Prior to joining Egon Zehnder International, Damien worked as an Associate with McKinsey in Australia and before that he held various management positions in a family owned group of companies in Australia.

Damien has a MBA from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of New South Wales. He also has a Diploma in Theology and Philosophy from Saint Columban’s College in Sydney which also entailed two years of study and community work in Mindanao, the Philippines.

News and Publications

The Economic Times – Volatility Calls for Value-Based Leadership

In today’s changing, volatile world the task of leadership has become much more difficult and challenging. What attributes do today’s leaders need to succeed, asks India’s The Economic Times in an interview with Egon Zehnder’s CEO Rajeev Vasudeva and Chairman Damien O’Brien.

International Business Times - Board Diversity: Fathers Open Doors for Daughters

High-flying fathers dismayed by the prejudice blocking the careers of their bright, ambitious daughters are now working harder to level the playing field. This shift in thinking, reports the International Business Times, was clearly reflected a recent panel debate entitled “Leaders And Daughters” hosted by Egon Zehnder as part of its “25 by 25” campaign.

Connecting with China

Connecting Chinese and UK leaders was the focus of a Private Dinner Event hosted by Egon Zehnder and its Chairman Damien O’Brien on January 19th 2015 in London.

The Business Times - Leadership and the art of listening

In an interview with the Business Times, Egon Zehnder Chairman Damien O'Brien reflects on the 50 year history of the firm, and the evolution of leadership in the era of globalisation.

businessworld.in - Future Challenges and the Future of Leadership

What are the challenges companies face today? What will those be tomorrow? How do you align future leaders with future need? These are some of the question Damien O’Brien, Chairman of Egon Zehnder, and Rajeev Vasudeva, CEO of Egon Zehnder, talk about in an extensive interview at Businessworld TV.

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The Times of India - The world is looking for different kinds of leaders

In a recent interview with the Times of India, Egon Zehnder Chairman Damien O'Brien and CEO Rajeev Vasudeva reflected on the leadership qualities – particularly the ability to champion diversity – required for success in a rapidly globalizing world.

Management Today - How To Be A Leader

Faith in leadership is being tested: character traits and personal values hold the key to restoring confidence, argues Egon Zehnder Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Damien O’Brien in MT Management Today.

The Future Paradigm in People Decisions

The War for Talent has not fallen victim to the current financial crisis, argues Damien O’Brien, CEO and Chairman of Egon Zehnder.

Building the Executive Talent Portfolio: A Strategic Imperative for Energy CEOs

While the energy sector is right to focus on “the big crew change” – the race to replace broad swaths of its aging workforce – an equally compelling challenge looms in the executive suite.

The private equity board: a good governance model?

In a recent study which analysed 70 successful private equity deals, perhaps surprisingly, McKinsey found that the primary source of value creation in the majority of these deals was the out performance of the company – not price arbitrage, not financial engineering and not overall sector gains or stock market appreciation – just better management of the business.

Building a brand of trust

Corporate leaders discount the impact of trust at their peril. Trust holds the key to inspiring a sense of ownership and building self-esteem.

Corporate leadership: lessons from professional service firms

Professional service firms are very different from other commercial enterprises. They typically lack the hard-nosed bottom line focus and hierarchical management structure of most companies.

consultant name

Damien I. O'Brien Egon Zehnder, Zurich, London, Sydney