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 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.

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.

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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