CLARKESON, John S. Of Brookline, MA, passed away with family by his side on Tuesday, May 28th. Born in 1942 in Schenectady, NY, he was the son of James J. and Dorris Clarkeson. John is known as a former CEO of Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
John attended Deerfield Academy, graduated from Harvard College in 1964, where he majored in History (magna cum laude), and Harvard Business School. He served in the U.S. Army Reserves. In retirement, he divided his time between Brookline, MA and Dublin, NH.
John joined BCG, a start-up in the nascent strategic consulting industry, in 1966 as a recent MBA graduate. His prior work experience consisted of summer internships at Clarkeson-Clough Engineering, Morgan Stanley, and Swissair.
John was elected CEO of BCG in 1985. The mid-eighties were a challenging time for the company. In many ways John reinvented the firm by focusing on international growth, boosting employee equity, opening up the election process, and preserving the company's independence by remaining privately held.
By the end of his tenure in 1997, BCG had seen steady year-on-year growth, having transformed from a small consulting firm of 500 people to one of the world's leading consultancies with more than 3,000 employees and 40 offices worldwide. He was elected Chairman in 1997, and has been Chairman Emeritus since 2004.
Boston Consulting Group CEO Rich Lesser: "He was one of the best storytellers I ever met. 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."
He served on the boards of Eversource Energy, Cabot Corporation, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the Massachusetts General Hospital Physicians Organization, INSEAD, and Wellesley College.
Music was a lifelong interest. He was an accomplished pianist, and collected modern-classic (1950-60's) cars and model railroads. He read broadly and inquisitively, and was always on the lookout for a good tale, at lunch, on the radio or over a cocktail - anywhere. He could be a good listener - and would always tell you what he thought.
He was a member of The Country Club, the Somerset Club, the Dublin Lake Club, and the Ausable Club.
John is survived by his wife, Ann, son, James D. Clarkeson of Boston, MA, brother, James E. Clarkeson of Hopewell, NJ, and cousins, Mary Clarkeson Phillips, John A. Clarkeson, Michael Paulsen, and many nieces and nephews.
A Memorial Service is intended for the early fall. In lieu of flowers, the family would like you to consider a contribution to an organization of your choosing.
Published in Boston Globe from Jun. 9 to Jun. 10, 2019.