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¡Bienvenidos a Panamá! McKinsey opens an office in Central America

Panama is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with well-developed financial-services and logistics sectors. Located on the isthmus linking North and South America, it serves as the geographic and transportation hub of Central America.

This month, we are opening an office in Panama City, our first consulting office in Central America. “If you consider Central America as one country, it has the GDP of Argentina—tremendous potential for its size, but split up into seven countries,” notes Julio Giraut, originally from Venezuela, who will be the managing partner for the new office. “Through the Panama office, we can more consistently serve clients in broader Central America and in the Caribbean,” he says. McKinsey has a 20-year history of client work, on and off, in the region. We also have a support center in San Jose, Costa Rica, with some 900+ experts in design, analytics, IT and logistics, among others.

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The first official dinner of the Caribbean and Central America team, planning the future in Panama City. Team leader, Julio Giraut, is seated at the front left.

Julio relocated with his family to Panama City earlier this year, and since then, he has been a “torero,” or jack of all trades, laying the groundwork: scouting potential office space, getting regulatory approvals, building relationships with local business leaders, and recruiting people to his new team.

Initial projects will leverage the team’s expertise in banking, engineering and infrastructure, and consumer goods and services. The Panama City founding team will include 12 consultants and five experts from our Digital Labs. “We want to hire local talent in Panama to become our next generation of consultants—and tap into a growing pool of digital and implementation experts from around the region,” he says.

Francisco Gatto, who coleads Digital Labs in the region, says moving to the Panama office was a natural next step given his background: “Prior to joining the firm, my career was built on tech start-ups. I founded my first company while still in college, and the energy of starting and growing something new is embedded in my DNA. Opening a new Digital Labs studio and a new office was an entrepreneurial opportunity I could not resist.”