New and improved Learning + Development courses. Read More


Rick Western

Chief Executive Officer

Rick is the CEO of Kotter, responsible for the company’s short and long term strategic direction as well as day-to-day management decisions. During his tenure, Kotter has more than doubled in size. Prior to joining Kotter, Rick had a 37-year career at EY (Ernst & Young), serving in multiple senior leadership roles and assisting Fortune 500 companies with strategy execution and operational performance improvement. For more than a decade, Rick was a Managing Partner in a highly successful $3B functional unit and $700M geographic business unit. He later led a 4-year, large-scale internal change initiative to develop and launch the firm’s globally consistent talent development process, EYU, after which EY was recognized in 2009 by BusinessWeek as the “Best Place to Launch a Career.” Finally, Rick was a Global Client Service Partner, responsible for all services to large, multinational clients, including overseeing the merger integration of a $7B acquisition. Rick is passionate about leadership and navigating the complexities of transformational change. Rick and his wife, Terri, are the proud parents of two grown children and two granddaughters.

Rick lives in Florida but is based out of the Cambridge, MA office.


Why did you decide to work at Kotter?

I joined Kotter out of sheer luck and good timing. I had met Dr. Kotter 20 years earlier and became a disciple of this works. At the exact moment I faced mandatory retirement from EY at age 60, John was looking for a CEO to help him grow a consultancy to have a much greater impact in the world. I’ve been having so much fun ever since that it doesn’t even feel like work.

What motivated you to pursue consulting your chosen profession?

I did not pursue consulting – it pursued me. I began my career as an auditor and quickly found much greater satisfaction in helping clients solve difficult challenges than identifying errors in their financial records.

Flashback to when you were 10 years old. What do you want to be when you grow up?

When I was younger (16 not 10), I wanted to be a high-school band director. I loved the large-scale teamwork of 100+ young people creating inspiring music and intricate and precise drill formations.

What are your superpowers?

I have been an effective leader throughout my life, admittedly based more on instinct than scholarly aptitude. I have a knack for helping people get the most out of themselves.

What’s got you thinking right now?

With the onslaught of Covid-19, our world has never needed more leadership that it does today. We are surrounded daily with brilliant examples and unfortunately some tragically bad examples as well. The human consequence of effective leadership has never been clearer.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

My wife and I binge watch Hallmark movies, because of their relentless and predictable positivity.