Peter C. Cairo, PhD

Dr. Peter Cairo is a consultant who specializes in the areas of leadership development, executive coaching, board evaluation, and executive team effectiveness.

Peter spent 20years as a full-time faculty member at Columbia University, where he served as chairman of the Department of Organizational and Counseling Psychology and was responsible for master’s- and doctoral-degree training programs. He also taught graduate courses in group dynamics, assessment, career development, and counseling techniques.


Following his academic career, Peter co-founded CDR International and the Oliver Wyman Executive Learning Center, where he and his colleagues designed, developed, and delivered large-scale leadership development programs for senior executives at Fortune 500 companies. He has since been a primary consultant, advisor, and coach to numerous senior executives, leadership teams, and boards at BlackRock, Colgate-Palmolive, Time Warner, Avon Products, ITW, Legg Mason, PepsiCo, Microsoft, Interpublic Group (IPG), BD, Boehringer Ingelheim, KPMG, Thomson Reuters, and Pegasystems.


Peter is a noted author and speaker on a wide range of topics in the field of leadership development. He co-authored The Unfinished Leader: Balancing Contradictory Answers to Unsolvable Problems (Jossey-Bass, 2014), Leading in Times of Crisis: Navigating Through Complexity, Diversity and Uncertainty to Save Your Business (Jossey-Bass, 2008) and Head, Heart & Guts: How the World’s Best Companies Develop Complete Leaders (Jossey-Bass, 2006). He and David Dotlich also co-wrote Why CEOs Fail: The 11 Behaviors That Can Derail Your Climb to the Top – and How to Manage Them (Jossey-Bass, 2003), Unnatural Leadership: Going Against Intuition and Experience to Develop Ten New Leadership Instincts (Jossey-Bass, 2002), and Action Coaching: How to Leverage Individual Performance for Company Success (Jossey-Bass, 1999). Peter has also published numerous articles, book chapters, and reports on topics such as creating customer-centric organizations, the challenges of assessing high-potential leaders, and new leadership models for the 21st century.


Peter’s other professional activities reflect a strong commitment to using his background and experience to train professionals in not-for-profit organizations. He is on the board of Women Deliver, a global advocacy group focused on the well-being and health of young girls and women. He has recently done pro bono work in Rwanda that involved developing training support for rural health-care workers, consulted to the leadership of Community Solutions that creates innovative approaches to the problems of homelessness, and worked with the staff of the Center for Discovery that designs and develops rehabilitation programs for the severely disabled.

Peter earned a BA at Harvard University and a PhD at Columbia University. He is a member of the American Psychological Association and a licensed psychologist in the state of New York.

info@petercairo.com