Rick Western


Rick Western

CEO + President

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. With 40 years of experience, he personally serves some of the firm’s largest and most complex clients. Prior to joining Kotter, Rick had a 37-year career at Ernst & Young, assisting Fortune 500 companies with strategic initiatives and managing business units. He served in senior roles including Global Client Service Partner and Managing Partner, and led a 4-year, large-scale internal change initiative to development 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.” Rick is passionate about successfully navigating the complexities of transformational change. Rick and his wife, Terri, are the proud parents of two grown children, Alex and Rachael, and enjoy two chocolate labs.

Rick is based out of the Cambridge, MA office.

Why did you decide to work at Kotter?

My relationship with Dr. Kotter began in the late ‘90s during a leadership development program he led at Harvard. I subsequently used his 8-Step Process for Leading Change with astonishing results as a senior partner at EY. When it came time to retire from EY, the moon and stars aligned perfectly with the opportunity for me to partner with John to grow an exciting consulting company which can genuinely impact the world by creating millions of leaders benefiting billions of people.

What is your proudest moment?

It is literally every single time I mentor someone and watch them achieve a result for which they were striving, especially if they weren’t sure they could do it.

What in your background helps you in this job?

Philosophically, I believe in people and their extraordinary power to accomplish amazing results when motivated and focused. Practically speaking, my entire career has revolved around large-scale transformational change, whether it was assisting a client with an acquisition, an initial public offering, redefining a major function of their business, or internally developing the globally consistent manner in which EY develops its more than 200,000 employees.

What’s got you thinking right now?

Organizations are becoming increasingly global, faster moving, and more complex every day. Yet, it still all comes back to people. If we can harness the untapped potential of more people within organizations, so much more is possible.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

I grew up wanting to become a high school band director. I love music and the discipline of well-orchestrated drill maneuvers executed by large numbers of people.