Jack (Rusty) O’Kelley

A recognized expert in CEO succession, board governance, and board effectiveness, Rusty co-leads the firm’s Board & CEO Advisory Partners in the Americas. He is a senior advisor and consultant to corporate boards and CEOs globally.


Rusty has helped the boards of Fortune 500 and large-scale family businesses design long-term CEO succession plans, conduct CEO searches, and advise new CEOs on governance and leadership matters. He advises boards on how best to improve overall effectiveness, enhance performance and culture, resolve governance issues, and limit vulnerabilities related to activism. Rusty also works with leading boards to identify and appoint new directors.

Rusty joined Russell Reynolds Associates from a search and leadership firm, where he led the Leadership Consulting Practice for the Americas. Previously, he was a management consultant with Katzenbach Partners (now PwC). Rusty began his career as a corporate lawyer at Sullivan & Cromwell.

Rusty has written or co-authored numerous white papers and articles, including “The Elegant Transition,” “Preparing for an Activist Before There is One,” and the firm’s seminal “Global Trends in Corporate Governance,” which has been published annually since 2016. Rusty is also a frequent contributor to the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation.

Rusty earned a BS in Accounting, summa cum laude, from Hampton University, where he was valedictorian of his class, and a JD from Yale Law School. He serves on the Board of Lincoln Center Theater in New York City and previously served as a director for Seventy-Fifth Avenue Investments and Track Chicago 1 Investments.
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Board Effectiveness Board of Directors CEO Succession Chief Executive Officers C-Suite Succession Development and Transition Executive Search

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