“As an Ecuadorian, it’s always a dream to come back to your home country,” says McKinsey partner Rafael Espinoza, who will co-lead our firm’s new Latin America location in Quito. “Ecuador has tremendous potential.” The new office will build on McKinsey’s work in the country’s financial sector and look to help clients drive resilient growth in a range of industries, including agriculture, retail, and more. [Leer en español.]
Rafael was born in Quito, lived there for the first 24 years of his life, and attended the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. A serial entrepreneur, he founded a tour company, a digital marketing agency, and a restaurant, all in town. “I always say, on average, I didn’t come out with a lot in terms of money, but I am rich in experiences,” he laughs. “And that’s what has brought me to where I am.”
His office co-leader, partner Carlos Buitrago, was born in Colombia and has worked with McKinsey for 11 years; the last four were spent building up our office in Medellin, Colombia.
“For me, this is a natural evolution of our regional strategy in Latin America,” he reflects. “We’ve been growing for the last 20 years in different geographies, from Colombia, Peru, Chile; followed by Panama with an amazing story in Central America, and then the Dominican Republic and Uruguay. Ecuador is the next step of that journey of extending our presence in different countries, finding those organizations that can benefit from best practices and perspectives from a firm like ours, and growing our talent pools.”
This year, in addition to Ecuador, we also opened an office in Montevideo, Uruguay, and acquired LOBO, a digital marketing operations firm in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“McKinsey has long served the financial institutions of Ecuador, and we’re very excited about other areas including sustainability, agriculture, retail and consumer, all of which offer opportunities for helping to create lasting, inclusive growth,” adds Carlos.
In terms of agriculture and aquaculture, Ecuador is the largest exporter of bananas in the world and a major exporter of shrimp. “In addition to becoming more sustainable, we can help local agricultural businesses and fisheries become more competitive by adapting digital and analytics solutions, such as ACRE, to significantly improve yields and reduce costs,” says Carlos.
Ecuador is a dollarized economy, with almost 20 million consumers. The retail industry is vibrant and informal, with about half of the entire grocery sector functioning through small, local stores. Expertise and technology for strategic sourcing, lean manufacturing, customer analytics, and digital expertise could help retailers grow revenue through new, resilient go-to-market strategies and channels.
“It’s a big agenda,” acknowledges Carlos, “one that relies on recruiting and developing local talent, including attracting Ecuadorians from home and abroad. Our office plans to double its impact by 2025, and we want to create a really local McKinsey office for Ecuador.”