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Julian Kirchherr


Serves public and private sector clients on large-scale people and organizational transformations

Julian is one of our global thought leaders on people and organizational transformations. He coleads our work for public sector and healthcare clients in Europe on this, while also having contributed to ambitious people and organizational performance programs in various other industries such as automotive, semiconductors, energy, banking, and media. Julian has in particular driven our efforts on reskilling and strategic workforce planning and published multiple reports on this topic.

Example projects led by Julian include the following:

  • resetting the learning for 300,000 employees at a major transportation organization
  • helping a sovereign wealth fund launch a skilling start-up to educate 500,000 youths for high-in-demand vocational professions
  • carrying out the first at-scale strategic workforce planning exercise at a renowned financial institution
  • reinventing the HR function of one of the world's largest semiconductor companies
  • rebooting the performance management at a European labor agency
  • delayering and making the operating model of a major energy regulator more agile

Prior to joining McKinsey, Julian was an assistant professor for innovation, and also authored the book, The Lean PhD: Radically Improving the Efficiency, Quality and Impact of Your Research, which was featured in the Guardian, Times Higher Education, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, among others. Julian remains one of the top two percent of most highly cited scientists worldwide, according to Stanford University’s database.

Published Work (selection)

A new holistic view on circular value chains,” McKinsey & Company, March 2024

Four ways to start using generative AI in HR,” blog entry, McKinsey & Company, March 2024

Why investing in company location still matters,” McKinsey & Company, October 2022

Using skill gap assessments to future-proof your organization,” McKinsey & Company, March 2022

Schule im Wandel [School in transition],” McKinsey & Company, Stifterverband, January 2022

21 Kompetenzen für eine Welt im Wandel [21 competenies for a world in turmoil],” McKinsey & Company, Stifterverband, November 2021

The Future is Now: Closing the skills gap in Europe's public sector,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

The Lean PhD: Radically Improving the Efficiency, Quality, and Impact of Your Research,” Bloomsbury, June 2018


University of Oxford
PhD, human geography

National University of Singapore
MPP, public policy

MPA, public policy and management

University of Twente
BS, economics

University of Munster
BA, political science