ZS elects Pratap Khedkar to CEO

 
Updated 7/28/2021 12:40 PM

EVANSTON -- Global professional services firm ZS announced Wednesday that Pratap Khedkar, head of the firm's global biopharmaceuticals and health care ecosystem practices, has been elected to CEO by the firm's leaders.

Khedkar is the third CEO in ZS's nearly 40-year history.

 

He was elected by his peers, a structure ZS's founders Andris A. Zoltners and Prabhakant Sinha established to ensure cultural continuity and to elevate leaders who embody the company's dedication to strategy, innovation and client collaboration.

He succeeds Chris Wright, who served the firm's maximum term and will be affiliated with ZS for the next five years as part of its principal emeritus program, focusing on the projects that he's most passionate about.

Khedkar has held various leadership roles during his 21 years with ZS. Khedkar has led the firm's global pharmaceuticals and biotechnology practice for nearly a decade, driving growth and market penetration across both established and emerging companies. While heading up the firm's advanced data science track, he and 250 data scientists helped integrate AI-enabled solutions across many business areas. He's recently turned his attention to expanding the firm's health care expertise to help clients establish deeper relationships and more effective partnerships across the health care ecosystem to improve health outcomes, emphasize a better patient experience and address health disparities.

"Pratap is stepping into this role during an exciting period of growth and change at ZS," said Wright, who oversaw the company's 30% growth in 2020. "We're increasingly being called in by the companies we partner with to identify, advise on and adapt to the next big shifts in their respective industries. I'm confident that under Pratap's counsel, the best days at ZS are ahead of us."

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"Chris has done a tremendous job during his tenure as CEO, and I'll be leaning on his knowledge and guidance in the months and years ahead," Khedkar said. "His greatest legacy is preserving the culture that our founders worked so hard to create. His emphasis on continually investing in our people has 'kept the magic alive,' as he's been known to say."

Khedkar will oversee the global acceleration and scaling of ZS's portfolio of life sciences and health care work. He plans to ramp up investments in the firm's technology, digital analytics and software capabilities across health care and in other industries. To continue working alongside clients and staying connected to market trends, Khedkar is making a critical adjustment to the leadership operating model by appointing 20-year ZS veteran Sandra Forero to the firm's newly created chief operating officer role.

Forero has held various leadership positions at ZS, including client service lead for two major biopharma clients, head of the firm's integrated analytics practice, founding chair of the people and culture team, chair of the inclusion and diversity council and elected member of ZS's shareholder's council since 2015.

"I welcome Sandra to this role and look forward to partnering with her. She's a trusted and respected leader at ZS who is incredibly passionate about driving client impact, ensuring the growth and success of our people and stewarding our culture," Khedkar said. "Our commitment to excellence and solving complex problems is critical for both personal and firm growth and has made ZS what it is today. And, we're strongly positioned to continue doing more of what ZS does best: helping companies and their customers thrive."

"At ZS, we work together to leverage our deep expertise in industry and functional areas, analytics and technology to cultivate a culture of innovation and collaboration for client benefit," said Jaideep Bajaj, chairman of the board at ZS. He held the position of CEO from 2003 to 2012. "I'm excited about ZS's next era with Pratap leading a strong team that's focused on creating value for our clients."

Khedkar holds a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence from the University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor of Technology degree in computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi.

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