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Hans-Werner Kaas

Senior Partner, Detroit
Advises automotive and machinery companies on growth strategy, operations transformation, and organizational effectiveness

About Hans-Werner

Hans-Werner cofounded our Automotive & Assembly Practice in the Americas and now helps lead our work globally. He also helps direct our work across the Advanced Industries Practice. He advises many of the world’s leading automotive and industrial-machinery companies on growth strategy, operations transformation, performance improvement, and organizational effectiveness. Some of his recent work includes the following:

  • serving a leading automotive OEM on a China growth strategy, addressing product strategy, marketing and sales and organizational issues
  • helping a global automotive supplier on a material-cost/operations-improvement program covering opportunity prioritization and implementation
  • developing a non-automotive growth strategy for a leading automotive supplier
  • working with a global heavy-machinery OEM on an aftermarket/parts growth strategy
  • supporting a technical consumer-goods company on multiple operational programs covering product development, purchasing, supply chain and manufacturing

As the co-author of several publications on the automotive industry, he has written about product development, quality management, integrated cost reduction, profitable growth, and the future of the auto-supply sector.

Hans-Werner joined McKinsey in 1991. He worked in our Frankfurt, Vienna, and Cleveland offices before moving to Detroit, where he helped open the office in 1998 and has since been based. As a long-time member of Business Leaders for Michigan, he also works closely with local business leaders to help strengthen the state's competitiveness and economic development.

Prior to joining McKinsey, Hans-Werner worked as a strategic/production technology analyst at Daimler-Benz in Stuttgart and as an investment trainee at Imperial Chemical Industries in Durban, South Africa. He served in the German Air Force on the staff of the wing commander of Jet Fighter Wing 33 before starting his university studies. He holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and business administration from the Technical University of Kaiserslautern. He is fluent in English, French, and German.

Published work

Winning the race for talent: A road map for the automotive industry,” McKinsey & Company, February 2020

The future of the North American automotive supplier industry,” McKinsey & Company, March 2012

McKinsey conversations with global leaders: Jim Owens of Caterpillar,” McKinsey Quarterly, November 2010

Building a sustainable Ford Motor Company: An interview with Bill Ford,” McKinsey Quarterly, January 2010

Past experience

Daimler-Benz AG
Strategic/production technology planning analyst

Imperial Chemical Industries
Investment trainee/analyst


Technical University of Kaiserslautern
MS, mechanical engineering and business administration