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Alexander Thiel


Helps consumer-goods companies and retailers, as well as fashion and luxury leaders, to capture profitable growth and adapt businesses to future needs

Alexander leads McKinsey’s Consumer Packaged Goods and Retail Practices in Switzerland, and coleads our luxury and sporting-goods work globally.

In highly competitive consumer-facing industries, Alexander helps leaders set new commercial strategies so they can find sustainable sources of business growth. When organizations must evolve to support the new strategy, he helps lead broad-based organizational transformations. This work often draws on a zero-based approach to assess and redesign category and brand management, business models, and operating models, building the core elements of the new model from scratch—a methodology Alexander helped pioneer.

Alexander leads numerous McKinsey research efforts on evolving consumer behavior and applying cutting-edge, design-thinking methodology.

Some of his work includes the following:

  • advising a leading global retailer on the establishment of a global data and analytics unit and the development and implementation of next-level assortment, pricing, promotion, and category management
  • helping a luxury-goods conglomerate define and act on an ambitious growth strategy focused on identifying granular growth opportunities at a city level, reviving brands, and implementing tailored route-to-market strategies
  • serving a leading luxury-goods company on a digital transformation of its front-line and back-office processes to build a more connected, collaborative, and automated operating model
  • supporting a global sports retailer in developing a new regional category strategy to create a more structured and consumer-centric assortment and pricing approach with specific emphasis to succeed in China and in the United States
  • working with a global food and beverages company to shift the portfolio toward future growth
  • supporting a global consumer and animal-health champion in developing and implementing new ecosystem business models

Alexander’s work has taken him across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, including time spent in the firm’s Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore offices. Before joining McKinsey, Alexander worked in investment banking in New York and as an entrepreneur at a consumer healthcare start-up in Silicon Valley.

Alexander earned an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BA from the University of St. Gallen.

Published work

Time to move: Sporting goods 2024, McKinsey & Company, January 2024

Sporting goods 2023: The need for resilience in a world in disarray, McKinsey & Company, January 2023

Tackling inflation and margin pressure in the sporting goods industry,” McKinsey & Company, July 2022

Sporting goods 2022: The new normal is here, McKinsey & Company, January 2022

In fine jewelry and watches, sustainability shines through,” McKinsey & Company, December 2021

State of Fashion: Watches and Jewellery, McKinsey & Company, June 2021

Sporting goods 2021: The next normal for an industry in flux,” McKinsey & Company, January 2021

Is the consumer-goods industry ready for the new world of work?,” McKinsey & Company, January 2020

What business can learn from professional football,” McKinsey & Company, September 2019

The ever-changing store: Taking an agile, customer-centric approach to format redesign,” McKinsey & Company, April 2019

Zero-based productivity—Organization: Using zero-based principles to forge a purpose-built organization,” McKinsey & Company, December 2018

Org redesign: start with a blank page,” McKinsey & Company, May 2018

Fighting portfolio complexity,” McKinsey Quarterly, McKinsey & Company, December 2017

How do winning consumer-goods companies capture growth?,” McKinsey & Company, April 2017

Western Europe’s consumer-goods industry in 2030,” McKinsey & Company, October 2016

The consumer sector in 2030: Trends and questions to consider,” McKinsey & Company, December 2015

Three myths about growth in consumer packaged goods,” McKinsey & Company, June 2015


Stanford Graduate School of Business

University of St. Gallen Switzerland
BA, business and economics

Columbia University
BA, econometrics, business administration