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Holger Harreis

Senior Partner, Düsseldorf
Co-founder and co-leader of our work in global risk data and digitization, and a core member of the European Financial Services Practice and McKinsey Digital; pioneers initiatives that help clients transform strategy, respond to regulatory demands, and enhance their overall approach to managing risk

About Holger

Holger is passionate about digital and risk, and about helping his clients manage and execute large-scale, high-impact transformations. He serves companies in all sectors, with a particular focus on financial services companies, including universal banks, investment banks, asset managers, and financial-market-infrastructure players.

In the area of risk data and digital risk, Holger, together with his teams, has helped his clients achieve tremendous impact in creating higher levels of efficiencies, enabling new revenue opportunities, and reducing risk, as well as in successfully achieving a multitude of new and demanding regulatory requirements. Key elements in such transformations include advanced digital risk capabilities—for example, the automation of lending processes and decision-making, portfolio monitoring, and stress-testing—as well as advanced approaches to data governance and data architecture. Holger helps clients implement these capabilities rapidly, with groundbreaking levels of adoption and impact.

As a frequent author and thought leader on our preeminent knowledge efforts, Holger and his global practice teams have worked on a foundational research effort and report on Risk Data and Technology capabilities together with The Institute of International Finance (IIF) and a large industry working group. This effort has led to the world’s leading annual Risk Data and Technology Benchmark initiative. In addition, Holger convenes executive forums on risk operating models, digital risk, and data transformations—for example, biannual roundtables on BCBS 239 including all GSIBs and most D-SIBs, as well as a biannual forum for Risk COOs. Holger regularly speaks at industry events, including the IIF fora, RiskMinds International, and the G20Y, on a variety of digital risk, regulatory, and banking topics. His research and views are regularly cited and quoted in leading publications.

Before joining McKinsey, Holger was a theoretical physicist investigating the behavior of DNA aggregates in different conditions.


How we support digitization of the risk function

Published work

Making a Step Change in Risk Efficiency and Effectiveness,” The European Financial Review, August/September, 2019

The lending revolution: How digital credit is changing banks from the inside,” McKinsey on Risk, August 2018

The future of risk management in the digital era,” McKinsey & Company, December 2017

Living with BCBS 239,” McKinsey & Company, May 2017

Digital risk: Transforming risk management for the 2020s,” McKinsey & Company, February 2017

BCBS 239: Full compliance elusive, but systematic risk reduced,” Global Association of Risk Professionals, February 2016

A marathon, not a sprint: Capturing value from BCBS 239 and beyond, McKinsey & Company, June, 2015

It's not just about getting your ratios right,” (PDF–195KB) McKinsey & Company, January, 2013

Risk IT and operations: Strengthening capabilities,” (PDF–3MB) Institute of International Finance and McKinsey & Company, June 2011

Past experience

Department of Theoretical Physics, University of Dusseldorf
postdoctoral research associate

National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, Michigan State University
research associate


University of Dusseldorf
PhD, theoretical physics

Michigan State University
MS, theoretical physics