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Axel Karlsson

Senior PartnerStockholm

Leads the Operations Practice in Europe and is a co-convener of the practice globally, drawing on his expertise in technology, strategy, and operations to help telecommunications, technology, and media companies improve performance

Axel advises technology, media, and telecommunications companies on a broad array of issues related to technology, strategy, and operations. He is leader of the Operations Practice in Europe and global co-convener of the practice. Axel previously led McKinsey’s Sweden office; the firm’s high tech work in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; and the Technology, Media & Telecommunications Practice in the Asia–Pacific region.

Drawing on his deep knowledge of technology-enabled operations, Axel often advises clients on issues related to cost cutting, digital transformations, agile organization, product development, and supply chain.

Examples of his recent client projects include the following:

  • helping a leading telecommunications client dramatically cut costs while moving to an agile organization model
  • advising a telecommunications group on how to set up a digital transformation over the coming 5 years while simultaneously undergoing rapid cost restructuring
  • assisting a leading telecommunications-network-equipment company develop its corporate strategy and undertake a reorganization
  • supporting the adoption of an agile software-development model for a high-tech company
  • helping a media client reinvent its business model and launch a digital transformation
  • assisting a leading high-tech company leverage its big data assets to create new service lines for its customers
  • improving purchasing and optimizing R&D processes for a global data-storage company—yielding cost reductions averaging 30 percent across several categories

Published work

Navigating the new normal: Operations insights for 2024,” McKinsey & Company, November 2023

How business operations can respond to price increases: A CEO guide,” McKinsey & Company, March 2022

The CEO: Architect of the new operations agenda,” McKinsey & Company, December 2021

Building value-chain resilience with AI,” McKinsey & Company, November 2021

Japan at a crossroads: The 4G to 5G (r)evolution,” McKinsey & Company, January 2018

Digital music’s Asian beat,” McKinsey Quarterly, November 2016


Stockholm School of Economics
MS, accounting and finance