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Karel Eloot

Senior PartnerShenzhen

Focuses on industrial Internet of Things and digital transformation in the industrial sectors, particularly for companies in China

Karel is the global co-leader of McKinsey’s Basic Materials practice and coleads McKinsey’s Operations Practice and Internet of Things (IoT) group in Asia. Since joining the firm, he has worked across multiple industries, including advanced industries, automotive, electronics, energy and materials, technology, and private equity.

Karel directs the firm’s work on operations and industrial IoT transformations, advising the region’s largest industrial companies on issues such as smart-manufacturing strategy, smart-plant design and ramp-up, supply chain 4.0, product development and launch, e-procurement, commercial and organizational improvement, as well as broader strategy development.

Karel is a leader of the Industrial IoT Hub, which brings together the firm’s expertise and technology for end-to-end digital and analytics transformations of industrial companies.

His recent work includes designing industrial IoT diagnostics and technology-enabled transformation programs for an automotive supplier, an electronics original design manufacturer, and a steel producer. He helped to accelerate the growth of multinational automation and robotization system and module suppliers in China, and he worked with technology companies on identifying opportunities to benefit from IoT-related market growth.

Karel also helped to facilitate a business-transformation program for a Chinese steel producer, with an emphasis on “smart lean” manufacturing and commercial excellence; he refreshed the manufacturing strategy and footprint for several global automotive suppliers; and he introduced a digital performance management system for a steel maker, increasing data availability from capture through data platform and improving performance through machine learning and embedding into new ways of working.

Some of his other projects include designing a new organization model and developing a new operating model for a high-tech multinational company in Asia seeking to radically improve its competitiveness in product design, its order-to-delivery process, and its portfolio and operations strategy.

With Tsinghua University in Beijing, he cofounded the Innovation & Learning Centers, a digital model factory on the Tsinghua campus providing hands-on capability building on tech enablement. He has also guest lectured at Tsinghua.

Outside of McKinsey, Karel is the chairman of the board of directors at the Shanghai chapter of the Benelux Chamber of Commerce in China, a nonprofit organization aimed at strengthening business, government, and community ties between Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg) organizations and individuals in and with China.

Earlier in his career, he worked as a steel researcher in Belgium, Germany, Japan, and the United States, publishing in ISIJ International (the journal of the Iron and Steel Institute of Japan), Journal de Physique, and the Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials.

Karel is a native Dutch speaker and is fluent in English, French, and German, as well as possessing basic knowledge of Mandarin and Spanish.

Published work

Building sustainability into operations,” McKinsey & Company, October 2022

Coronavirus and technology supply chains: How to restart and rebuild,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

The future of Asia: Asian flows and networks are defining the next phase of globalization,” McKinsey Global Institute, September 2019

A scalable IoT tech stack starts with business-focused use cases,” McKinsey & Company, July 2019

The potential impact from manufacturing’s lighthouses in China,” McKinsey & Company, January 2019

Unlock value with an Industrial IoT technology stack that scales,” McKinsey & Company, October 2018

Past experience

Kawasaki Steel Corporation, Japan
Postdoctoral steel researcher

University of Pittsburgh
Postdoctoral steel researcher


Ghent University, Belgium
PhD, materials science, steel research
MS, metallurgical engineering