About Karel

Karel co-leads McKinsey’s Asia Operations Practice, as well as the Global Energy and Materials joint venture with Operations. His work centers on operations transformation, manufacturing strategy, plant design, product development and launch, purchasing, commercial and organizational improvement, strategy development, and M&A in sectors such as energy and materials, high tech, and automotive and assembly.

Karel’s recent projects have focused on efforts to improve many aspects of operations. He helped conduct a multiyear operations-transformation program for a large Chinese metals company; he developed an Asia manufacturing strategy and footprint, as well as a go-to-market strategy for a tire producer; and he launched a business-transformation program, with an emphasis on lean manufacturing and commercial excellence, for a Chinese steel producer. Several other projects have touched on product development; for instance, Karel worked with a Chinese original-equipment manufacturer to introduce best-in-class product-development processes and systems and to accelerate product launches through capability building. Other projects include designing a new organization model and developing a new operating model for a high-tech multinational in Asia seeking to radically improve its competitiveness in product design, its order-to-delivery process, and its portfolio and operations strategy.

Karel joined McKinsey in 1997, working in the Benelux office before transferring to China in 2006. Earlier in his career, he worked as a steel researcher in Belgium, Germany, Japan, and the United States, publishing in ISIJ International (the journal of the Iron and Steel Institute of Japan), Journal de Physique, and the Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials. Karel is a native Dutch speaker and is fluent in English, French, and German.

Published work

Speed for simplicity: An interview with Lenovo’s Gerry Smith,” McKinsey & Company, August 2016

Capability building in China,” McKinsey Quarterly, July 2013

A new era for manufacturing in China,” McKinsey Quarterly, June 2013

China’s next chapter: Tech, manufacturing, and innovation,” McKinsey & Company, June 2013

Past experience

Kawasaki Steel Corporation, Japan
Postdoctoral steel researcher

University of Pittsburgh
Postdoctoral steel researcher

Education

Ghent University, Belgium
MS, metallurgical engineering
PhD, materials science with a focus on steel research