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Jesse Klempner

Assists aerospace, defense, and industrial companies with strategy, growth, innovation, and mergers and acquisitions, and consults on diligence, strategy, and portfolio-company optimization for private equity funds

Jesse is a leader in McKinsey’s Aerospace & Defense, Private Equity & Principal Investors, and Automotive & Assembly Practices. He has led numerous strategic engagements for A&D primes and subcontractors as well as industrial companies, studies across the full M&A lifecycle (such as M&A strategy, industry and target scans, diligences, and postmerger management), and more than 50 transaction diligences.

Examples of his recent client work include the following:

  • conducting the strategic portfolio review, including valuation of available business and strategic options, levers to increase value, and new business models to pursue, at a major prime contractor
  • leading a product-lineup transformation for a leading powersports OEM
  • developing the strategy on the future of space industry, with a focus on national security, space, and commercial convergence
  • developing the acquisition-strategy formulation and subsequent acquisition screen for a major A&D prime contractor, with tasks that included identifying, scoring, and prioritizing targets against multiple themes and capability needs

Prior to joining McKinsey, Jesse worked for a boutique management-consulting firm that focused on due diligence and strategy engagements in A&D. He has also spent time at two large law firms focused on private-equity transactions and at a private-equity firm focused on A&D opportunities.

Jesse began his career in the US House of Representatives, where he focused on the defense budget, defense policy, and foreign relations. His final position in the House was as the chief of staff to the chairman of the House Armed Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

Published work

Space: The $1.8 trillion opportunity for global economic growth, McKinsey & Company, April 2024

A rising wave of tech disruptors: The future of defense innovation?,” McKinsey & Company, February 2024

Expectations versus reality: Commercial satellite constellations,” McKinsey & Company, April 2023

Space: The missing element of your strategy,” McKinsey & Company, March 2023

Integrated profit management during inflation: Lessons for aerospace and defense,” McKinsey & Company, November 2022

Inflation: How defense companies can support national security,” McKinsey & Company, November 2022

Funding of emerging-technology areas pursued by nontraditional companies,” McKinsey & Company, September 2022

The role of space in driving sustainability, security, and development on Earth,” McKinsey & Company, May 2022

Space around the globe,” McKinsey & Company, April 2022

Space: Investment shifts from GEO to LEO and now beyond,” McKinsey & Company, January 2022

"R&D for space: Who is actually funding it?," McKinsey & Company, December 2021

Expectations versus reality: Commercial satellite constellations,” McKinsey & Company, November 2021


Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management
MBA, finance

The University of Chicago
MA, international relations

Dartmouth College
BA, history