Michael Barriere

Former Chief Talent Officer at Walmart and Former CHRO at Alcoa | Partner
McKinsey & Company

Mike is a partner in our Organization Practice. An accomplished human resources and talent executive, he has worked in the private sector for over 25 years. Mike has deep expertise in leadership development, CEO succession planning, talent assessment, as well as capability building and learning services. He regularly advises clients on how to build the HR function of the future, develop talent strategies that enable their business objectives, and improve their leadership and workforce capabilities to create value.

Working closely with our people-analytics team, Mike has contributed to a number of advanced analytics tools and solutions, including tools that match high-potential succession candidates to critical roles, determine future workforce capabilities through supply-and-demand gap analyses, and identify the factors that differentiate top performers from average performers across critical roles.

Examples of Mike’s recent work include the following:

  • supporting a global manufacturing company in building a rigorous, fact-based global talent strategy that is essential to meeting its 2025 growth objectives
  • helping a major healthcare organization design and execute core initiatives to modernize the HR function and upgrade capabilities
  • advising a new chief human-resources officer on engaging the CEO and board to drive talent outcomes, upgrade the HR function, and develop a workforce strategy to build capabilities and grow the leadership bench
  • assisting a financial services firm in developing an employee value proposition that fundamentally altered how the client recruits talent, grows leaders, and manages performance

Prior to joining McKinsey, Mike led Walmart’s global talent-management function with responsibility for the company’s overall talent strategy, including executive development, Walmart’s Leadership Academy, CEO and executive succession planning, officer selection, talent assessment, and capability development for key business strategies. Mike came to Walmart from Alcoa, where he not only oversaw the HR, environment, health, safety, and sustainability functions, but was a member of the company’s executive council.

Earlier in his career, Mike was a system design engineer for Grumman Aerospace and a research scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory in its Human Factors and Performance Analysis group. This work and his doctoral research in industrial and organizational psychology focused on human performance, safety culture, and human error reduction in high-risk and technologically complex environments. From 1997 until 2002, Mike also served as an assistant professor of organizational psychology at Hofstra University.

10:10 AM Plenary Session

We have been talking about strategic HR for decades. Some companies have made progress towards leaner HR operating models, decreased manual transactional workload etc. However, in general, the progress has stalled – we will share some observations on the typical challenges we see, based on our experience working with CEOs and CHROs on HR and talent topics. 

How can we turn the tide? 

During this session, Mike Barriere (former Chief Talent Officer at Walmart, CHRO at Alcoa and, currently, Partner at McKinsey & Company) and Bryan Hancock (Partner at McKinsey & Company) will lead an interactive discussion to share perspectives on what it takes to turn talent management into a source of competitive advantage: 
  • Operationalize the G3 (the group of CEO, CFO and CHRO) which involves clear understanding of the value agenda and sources of value 
  • Link Talent to Value – some practical steps one could start applying tomorrow
  • Transform the HR function from a service provider to a business leader accountable for talent outcomes