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Kati Najipoor-Smith

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+49 69 633 96 151

Kati Najipoor-Smith, based in Frankfurt, is a member of Egon Zehnder’s global CEO Practice and is also deeply involved in the firm’s Board Consulting Practice. Drawing on decades of global advisory and management experience, she advises chairmen and CEOs of publicly traded, family-owned, and private-equity-backed companies across all industry sectors and regions on building effective and sustainable leadership at the top of their organizations. With a global network and extensive experience with CEO transitions, Kati works closely with boards to ensure a robust, objective, and confidential CEO succession process, including facilitating the development of future CEOs. She also helps build and develop best-in-class, effective, and diverse senior executive teams and has established a private network of women in senior leadership positions to help female leaders advance.

I believe that the conventional governance model and the requirements of CEOs are changing, and I am committed to helping boards and CEOs to provide truly great leadership at the top that creates shareholder and social value.

Prior to joining Egon Zehnder, Kati held senior roles in industrial and automotive consulting firms in Europe and the United States, leading large-scale strategic, change, and benchmarking projects. She also held technical management positions at European and U.S. engineering companies.

Kati earned a PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Aachen, in Germany, an MSc in mechanical engineering from the University of California, and a BSc in mechanical engineering from the University of Portland. Kati has been a frequent speaker and panel guest on leadership topics. With a very diverse background herself, she is particularly well-positioned and is often invited to advise on global perspective on leadership.

Kati Najipoor-Smith berät Familienunternehmen und Aktiengesellschaften ebenso wie Firmen, die sich im Besitz von Private-Equity-Gesellschaften befinden. Sie blickt auf mehr als drei Jahrzehnte Erfahrung als Beraterin zurück. Ihr Schwerpunkt liegt in der Unterstützung des Aufsichtsrats und Vorstands bei der Auswahl, Evaluierung und Entwicklung von Führungspersönlichkeiten und der Begleitung ihrer Klienten bei strategischen Nachfolgeprozessen. Darüber hinaus berät sie Unternehmen bei der Entwicklung von hocheffektiven Vorstands- und Aufsichtsratsgremien. Auf Basis ihrer langjährigen globalen Beratungstätigkeit hat Kati Najipoor-Smith einen tiefen Einblick in die stark veränderten Anforderungen an moderne CEOs in sich stetig wandelnden Märkten gewonnen. In diesem Kontext hat sie zwei große globale Studien veröffentlicht. Ihre Einsichten setzt sie in CEO-Nachfolgeprozessen bei der Identifikation und Auswahl von Kandidat:innen ein.

Diversity-Management, insbesondere in Vorstands- und Aufsichtsratsgremien, ist ein weiterer wichtiger Schwerpunkt für Kati Najipoor-Smith. Ihre Ambition ist es nicht nur, den Anteil weiblicher Führungspersönlichkeiten zu steigern, sondern eine Vielfalt zu entwickeln, die Innovation und stetigen Wandel beflügelt. Bevor sie zu Egon Zehnder kam, hatte Kati Najipoor-Smith eine Reihe leitender Positionen in Beratungsunternehmen inne. Darüber hinaus war sie für den Industrie- und Automobilsektor in Europa und den USA tätig, wo sie große Strategie-, Change- und Benchmarking-Projekte verantwortete.

Kati Najipoor-Smith promovierte in Maschinenbau an der RWTH Aachen und erwarb im selben Fach einen Master of Science an der Universität von Kalifornien sowie einen Bachelor of Science an der Universität Portland.

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Thought Leadership

Thought Leadership by Kati Najipoor-Smith

Four Skills as CEO That Foster a Forward-Thinking Corporate Culture

Four Skills as CEO That Foster a Forward-Thinking Corporate Culture

According to a study by Egon Zehnder, around 80% of global CEOs recognize they must change themselves to change the world. Read more

CEO Insights

CEO Insights

The CEO Insights Series shares our latest and best thinking on the most definitive topics affecting CEO leadership and performance today. Read more

CEO Insights — Volume 27: Reconnecting and Reinventing Over Resigning

CEO Insights — Volume 27: Reconnecting and Reinventing Over Resigning

Moving through the Great Resignation, CEOs can build connections and foster transformation by evolving and adapting themselves. Read more

Egon Zehnder global study reveals CEOs are more self-aware, yet need to become more relational and adaptive

Egon Zehnder global study reveals CEOs are more self-aware, yet need to become more relational and adaptive

Survey of nearly 1,000 global CEOs reveals recent social and economic challenges drove unprecedented levels of self-reflection and development – changing CEO perspectives and… Read more

It starts with the CEO

It starts with the CEO

Survey of nearly 1,000 global CEOs reveals recent social and economic challenges drove unprecedented levels of self-reflection and development – changing CEO perspectives and… Read more

CEO Insights — Volume 22: Featuring “CEOs: Architects of Prosperity”

CEO Insights — Volume 22: Featuring “CEOs: Architects of Prosperity”

Our new series, “CEOs: Architects of Prosperity,” has been created to highlight the expanding expectations for CEOs across a wide range of issues affecting… Read more

CEOs: Architects of Prosperity

CEOs: Architects of Prosperity

CEO performance has been redefined by rising expectations and growing complexity. To show this transformation, Egon Zehnder profiled six exceptional CEOs who are working… Read more

CEOs: Architects of Prosperity — The Adaptive CEO

CEOs: Architects of Prosperity — The Adaptive CEO

CEO performance has been redefined by rising expectations and growing complexity. To show this transformation, Egon Zehnder profiled six exceptional CEOs who are working… Read more

CEOs: Architects of Prosperity — Reconnecting with Our Humanity

CEOs: Architects of Prosperity — Reconnecting with Our Humanity

CEO performance has been redefined by rising expectations and growing complexity. To show this transformation, Egon Zehnder profiled six exceptional CEOs who are working… Read more

CEOs: Architects of Prosperity — The Power of Relationships

CEOs: Architects of Prosperity — The Power of Relationships

CEO performance has been redefined by rising expectations and growing complexity. To show this transformation, Egon Zehnder profiled six exceptional CEOs who are working… Read more

CEOs: Architects of Prosperity — Perform <i>and</i> Transform

CEOs: Architects of Prosperity — Perform and Transform

CEO performance has been redefined by rising expectations and growing complexity. To show this transformation, Egon Zehnder profiled six exceptional CEOs who are working… Read more

CEOs: Architects of Prosperity — Time to Open the Doors

CEOs: Architects of Prosperity — Time to Open the Doors

CEO performance has been redefined by rising expectations and growing complexity. To show this transformation, Egon Zehnder profiled six exceptional CEOs who are working… Read more

CEOs: Architects of Prosperity — Navigating a World in Flux

CEOs: Architects of Prosperity — Navigating a World in Flux

CEO performance has been redefined by rising expectations and growing complexity. To show this transformation, Egon Zehnder profiled six exceptional CEOs who are working… Read more

CEO Insights — Volume 16: Both/And CEO Leadership: Leveraging New Possibilities from Old Polarities

CEO Insights — Volume 16: Both/And CEO Leadership: Leveraging New Possibilities from Old Polarities

Leaders today need to better manage polarities - but what are those polarities, and how do you reconcile them? Read more

“In the Eye of the Storm”: A New CEO Mandate

“In the Eye of the Storm”: A New CEO Mandate

Five tips for CEOs while they work to manage the business and create psychological and emotional safety for their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. Read more

CEO Insights — Volume 9: “In the Eye of the Storm”: A New CEO Mandate

CEO Insights — Volume 9: “In the Eye of the Storm”: A New CEO Mandate

Five tips for CEOs while they work to manage the business and create psychological and emotional safety for their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. Read more

The Call for Curiosity

The Call for Curiosity

Curious, bold leadership is not something you simply have or don’t have; you build upon what is there, you learn it and continue to… Read more

CEO Insights — Volume 6: The Call for Curiosity: Cultivating Inquisitive Leadership

CEO Insights — Volume 6: The Call for Curiosity: Cultivating Inquisitive Leadership

Curious, bold leadership is not something you simply have or don’t have; you build upon what is there, you learn it and continue to… Read more

The Uncharted Leadership Voyage

The Uncharted Leadership Voyage

The CEO turnover rate is at a record high and appears to be accelerating. How can we better prepare CEOs for today’s reality, where… Read more

CEO Insights — Volume 4: The Uncharted Leadership Voyage

CEO Insights — Volume 4: The Uncharted Leadership Voyage

Sudden CEO departures have been constantly in the headlines. The CEO turnover rate hit a record high in 2018 and looks to be accelerating.… Read more

CEO Insights — Volume 3: No CEO is an Island: Leading a Collaborative Enterprise

CEO Insights — Volume 3: No CEO is an Island: Leading a Collaborative Enterprise

CEO leadership is, by its very nature, a collective and relational endeavor. There can be no CEO leaders without followers and vice versa. Still,… Read more

CEO Insights — Volume 2: It Takes a Village: Supporting CEO Leadership

CEO Insights — Volume 2: It Takes a Village: Supporting CEO Leadership

Not that long ago, the idea of coaches for CEOs was frowned upon, viewed as a sign of weakness or called on as a… Read more

CEO Insights — Volume 1: New Captains of Consciousness: Infusing CEO Leadership with Social Responsibility and Accountability

CEO Insights — Volume 1: New Captains of Consciousness: Infusing CEO Leadership with Social Responsibility and Accountability

Not even two decades into the new millennium, the world has faced many devastating events that have deeply affected the century’s course—terrorist attacks, hate… Read more

New Captains of Consciousness

New Captains of Consciousness

Across the world, top corporate officers are increasingly assuming a mantle of public leadership by driving purpose-directed company strategies and taking overt stands on… Read more

The Changing Face of Power

The Changing Face of Power

Global CEO practice leader Kati Najipoor-Schütte explains the role of power in top management today, and what the inner workings of a leadership personality… Read more

The CEO: A Personal Reflection

The CEO: A Personal Reflection

We surveyed 402 current CEOs from various industries, countries and corporate structures. They shared perspectives on the realities of the role, their preparation, their… Read more

Commentary: Here’s Why So Many CEOs Start the Job Unprepared

Commentary: Here’s Why So Many CEOs Start the Job Unprepared

Leadership has never been easy. Yet given the current volatility of the external world—stemming from geopolitical uncertainty, activist pressure, a new generation of employees,… Read more

The CEO: A Personal Reflection

The CEO: A Personal Reflection

Between November 2017 and January 2018, Egon Zehnder conducted a global research project, surveying current chief executives from a wide cross-section of industries, countries,… Read more

The Telegraph – Two Thirds of Newly Appointed CEOs Don't Feel Fully Prepared

The Telegraph – Two Thirds of Newly Appointed CEOs Don't Feel Fully Prepared

A global survey of newly-appointed CEOs by Egon Zehnder reveals the role is more difficult and demanding than many respondents – approximately two-thirds –… Read more

Harvard Business Manager – Entering Uncharted Territory: How Does a CEO Drive Transformation?

Harvard Business Manager – Entering Uncharted Territory: How Does a CEO Drive Transformation?

How can a company be reinvented successfully? Kati Schütte, Global CEO Practice Leader at Egon Zehnder, looks at this question in a case study… Read more

David Mayer de Rothschild - The storyteller

David Mayer de Rothschild - The storyteller

A global adventurer with a purpose, David Mayer de Rothschild refuses to abide the status quo, especially when doing so causes harm. He spoke… Read more

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