Gassan Al-Kibsi is McKinsey’s regional managing partner for the Middle East. He has been with our firm for over 20 years, having joined the Washington, DC, office in 1997. A native of Yemen, Gassan returned to the region in 2000 as a founding member of McKinsey’s Middle East office. Today, he works with clients across the public, private, and social sectors, accelerating economic and social transformation and developing next-generation talent.
As McKinsey enters its 20th year in the Middle East, we sat down with Gassan to learn more about who he is, hear his perspectives on the region, and find out why he is passionate about helping young people there succeed.
Meet Gassan Al-Kibsi
Gassan was born in Yemen and spent his early childhood there. His father was then appointed to the Yemeni Embassy in Washington, DC, which gave him access to a new world of educational and professional opportunities. In this segment, Gassan remembers his friends and classmates in Yemen who didn’t have those opportunities, and talks about how this inequity has instilled his deep sense of purpose and personal commitment to creating opportunities for youth in the region.
Why this region matters
The Middle East region is home to one of the youngest populations in the world, with nearly 65 percent of its people under the age of 30. “The fate of this region’s youth matters to the world,” Gassan explains. Here, he breaks down the Middle East’s population trends and paints a vivid picture that illustrates why the region and its youth have such major implications for the future stability of the global economy.
The momentum and opportunity
While the region has its challenges, there is optimism about the economic transformation underway. “We’re seeing real changes in action, but we’re also seeing changes in mindset,” says Gassan. “There’s now generally a much bigger openness to the rest of the world, that just didn’t exist before.” This segment highlights some of the biggest shifts that are driving this momentum and the opportunities to participate in this transformation.
What is our role in all of this?
Gassan reinforces McKinsey’s commitment to help deliver an economic transformation of unprecedented pace and scale, the success of which matters not only to the region but also to the world. “Our purpose,” he says, “is to strengthen the institutional muscle to make things happen and deliver.”