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Making Critical Decisions with Confidence

Nancy McKinstry, CEO and chairman of Wolters Kluwer, explains how going digital is allowing a 183-year-old provider of specialist information and expert solutions to prosper in a data-driven world

In 1836, expertise and trusted knowledge were the stock-in-trade of J.B. Wolters, the founder of a bookstore and publishing house in the Netherlands that eventually bore his name. They still are for Wolters Kluwer, the current incarnation of that same publishing company. It is now a global information and expert solutions provider operating in 40 countries and serving customers in more than 180.

It took the vision and determination of Nancy McKinstry, a native of the United States who was appointed CEO and chairman in 2003, to make the critical decisions necessary to turn a primarily print-based organization into a digital powerhouse.

Fifteen years after McKinstry was named CEO, she believes that her commitment to a long-term strategy of investment in innovation and talent is finally paying off. Both revenues and profits are growing in an industry that has suffered both losses and consolidation.

The company, which reported revenues of €4.4 billion (US$5 billion) in 2017, has in the past two decades concentrated its products in four sectors: health, tax and accounting, governance risk and compliance, and legal and regulatory affairs. It provides expert knowledge and solutions via subscription services under the tagline “when you have to be right.”

McKinstry sat down with strategy+business at the Wolters Kluwer headquarters in Alphen aan den Rijn, near Amsterdam, to discuss critical decision making, the transformation process, and her commitment to diversity. Read the full interview.