Former Boston Consulting Group CEO John Clarkeson passes away

03 July 2019 1 min. read
More news on

John S. Clarkeson, former CEO of strategy firm Boston Consulting Group, passed away on May 28 at the age of 76.

Clarkeson was elected CEO of BCG in 1985, serving until 1997. During his tenure, Clarkeson reinvented the firm by focusing on international growth, boosting employee equity, and opening up its election process. By the end of his term as CEO, Clarkeson had grown the firm from 500 to 3,000 professionals, with 40 offices worldwide – all while driving steady year-on-year growth.

Clarkeson joined BCG in 1966, three years after the firm’s founding by Bruce Henderson, following the completion of an MBA at Harvard Business School.

Former Boston Consulting Group CEO John Clarkeson passes away

Carl Stern replaced Clarkeson as CEO in 1998, serving until 2003. Stern was followed by Hans-Paul Bürkner, who was CEO until 2012. Current BCG CEO Rich Lesser took over in 2013.

“He was one of the best storytellers I ever met,” Lesser said of Clarkeson in a Boston Globe obituary. “He used stories not just as a way to engage people but to get us aligned and moving in the same direction. It's hard to overstate John's contribution to BCG as an institution – he had just as much of an impact on individuals. He was a mentor to many, including me.”

Clarkeson served as BCG’s chairman from 1998 to 2003, and then was its co-chairman from 2004-2007. He was chairman emeritus from 2007 until his passing.

He also served on the boards of Eversource Energy, Cabot Corporation, the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Educational Testing Service, the Massachusetts General Hospital Physicians Organization, Wellesley College, and INSEAD.

Clarkeson was an accomplished pianist and a car enthusiast, collecting modern-classic automobiles from the ‘50s and ‘60s. He split his retirement between Brookline, Massachusetts and Dublin, New Hampshire.