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McKinsey India: Rajat Dhawan elected McKinsey India managing partner

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McKinsey India’s senior partner Rajat Dhawan has been elevated to the position of managing partner after the culmination of an elaborate selection exercise that started after Gautam Kumra was appointed the firm’s Asia chairman in a recent global reshuffle.

McKinsey’s senior global partners conducted interviews with more than 69 partners of the firm for the top job, and sources said it was a close race between 2-3 shortlisted Indian senior partners in the firm.

Dhawan will be the sixth managing partner to take the McKinsey India corner office since 1992, after Tinu Puri, Ranjit Pandit, Adil Zainulbhai, Noshir Kaka and Kumra.

Insiders say one of the key factors that worked in favour of Dhawan was that he had worked very closely with Kumra in the last few years to help drive change within the firm and strengthen the firm’s leadership amid stiff competition from rival consulting firm BCG.

The New Delhi-based Dhawan spent the last 24 plus years at the India practice and has worked closely with the country’s top auto companies in strategy and performance transformation.

He led the advanced industries practice in Asia from 2017 and previously co-led the operations practice in the region.

The incoming managing partner will most probably take over in early August, when Kumra moves to Singapore to take over the Asia chairmanship.

“I am truly excited by the opportunity to take on the role of managing partner for McKinsey in India. I approach it in a tradition of servant-leadership with a focus on supporting our clients to achieve their goals and my colleagues to fulfill their potential,’’ said Dhawan. “I am committed to our local aspirations and our global commitment to redefining our profession by delivering holistic impact, doubling our rate of innovation, recommitting to apprenticeship and setting the standard for professionalism. We have a significant role to play as a catalyst to help our clients achieve sustainable and inclusive growth that contributes to progress in India.”

Under Kumra, the consulting operations run out of India—under McKinsey & Co India LLP and McKinsey & Co Inc (Branch Office)—touched Rs 2,926 crore in revenues in 2019-20, as per the firm’s filings with the ministry of corporate affairs (MCA).

Kumra was instrumental in consolidating the consulting operations, launching new services, pushing the digital agenda amongst clients and providing strategic direction to the firm in an environment where client needs were rapidly evolving, and competitors were catching up.

“Dhawan has an excellent client connection and demonstrable leadership qualities. He will be able to hold the team together and drive results. Moreover, his election proves that nice guys also finish first,” said a McKinsey partner on the condition of anonymity.

The new managing partner will take charge at a time when the firm’s new global managing partner Bob Sternfels has set a mandate for a stronger partnership that is more inclusive, and better able to help their clients thrive in a fast-changing world.

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