This is a profile image of Sander Smits

Sander Smits

Senior PartnerAmsterdam

Transforms operational performance and optimizes research and development for leading companies in the advanced industries sector

Sander leads McKinsey’s advanced industries sector in the Benelux and the firm’s product development work in Europe.

Since joining McKinsey in 2004, Sander has helped companies in the high-tech industry to improve their operational efficiency and overall performance. Often focusing on the research and development function, he helps establish more agile ways of working and leads programs to make product development more productive. Across functions, he leads large-scale performance transformations to establish a foundation for growth.

Examples of Sander’s recent client work include the following:

  • transforming global performance for a leading industrial company
  • leading the buy-out trajectory of a large telecom equipment manufacturer
  • optimizing the product development process for a leading semiconductors manufacturer
  • driving an R&D efficiency and effectiveness program for a leading power electronics company with a focus on portfolio, footprint, and lean methodologies
  • transforming the R&D function for a global telecom equipment company, including increasing productivity and implementing agile approaches

Prior to joining McKinsey, Sander was a research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston and at Tohoku University in Japan. He holds advanced degrees in business, law, and theoretical physics.

Published work

Taking the measure of product development,” McKinsey & Company, October 2018 

Make milestones matter with ‘decision gates’—stage gates with real teeth,” McKinsey & Company, June 2017



Leiden University
MA, law
MS, physics