ZS Promotes New CEO, Inaugurates First COO

ZS, a management consultancy with headquarters in Illinois, has a new Chief Executive Officer. Pratap Khedkar, a 21-year mainstay of the firm, took over the reins from Chris Wright. The latter had reached completion of his maximum three terms as CEO and will now transition to the position of Principal Emeritus for ZS.

Khedkar has indicated his initial focus will be on advancing the company’s healthcare and life science portfolio, in line with ZS’s dominant industry ties. Strategic investments in technology, digital analytics, and software capabilities are also on the docket for the first phases of his tenure.

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Prior to the CEO move, Khedkar led the pharma and biotechnology pursuits of ZS for nearly ten years. He worked in R&D at GE with a marketing analytics concentration before coming aboard ZS in 2000. He earned aPh.D.D in computer science from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

Former CEO Wright said, “Pratap is stepping into this role during an exciting period of growth and change at ZS. 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.” Wright had successfully steered ZS through a busy pandemic period that drove the firm’s revenue growth up 30%.

To keep continuity in market trends and client connections, Khedkar arranged for the promotion of 20-year veteran Sandra Forero, who became the company’s first Chief Operating Officer. Most recently, she was the managing principal for the North American East region, in addition to serving as a client service lead and head of the integrated analytics practice. She also chaired the company’s inclusion and diversity council.

ZS currently maintains a staff of around 10,000 employees in 28 offices spread across the Americas, Europe, and Asia. In June, the firm acquired digital health solution specialist Medullan and added its 80-plus employees to its roster. The purchase was the largest in ZS’s 37-year history.