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Kate Smaje

Senior Partner, London
Serves consumer-facing companies on the strategy, marketing, operational, and organizational initiatives that will enable the transformation of their businesses

About Kate

Kate leads our consumer digital work in Europe. She helps leading retailers and consumer-facing companies capture opportunities afforded by new growth platforms, rethink their consumer-engagement models, and improve their organizational performance.

Kate has led initiatives to help clients develop new omnichannel operating models, capture new growth opportunities, and adapt their organizations—for example, by helping them develop the cultural and technical capabilities necessary to thrive in the digital world. A particular focus of her work is on designing, delivering and often turbocharging digital transformations—a critical imperative as industry dynamics evolve.

Her recent work includes:

  • leading a multiyear digital transformation for a pan-European leisure retailer, which entailed strategy development, organizational redesign, and cultural realignment
  • supporting the end-to-end transformation of a major multicategory retailer
  • setting up a new digital unit and building the team and capabilities for a European cruise company
  • defining the digital strategy for a German pure-play retailer to step-change performance
  • helping a major European online retailer reset its value equation, including redefining its pricing and promotions strategies
  • helping a major retailer develop a new multichannel operating model by articulating the customer value proposition and creating new fulfillment and service models, among other efforts
  • leading the turnaround of a global jewelry player to restore growth
  • coaching senior leaders of several top retail and leisure companies to help them develop the mind-sets, capabilities, and grassroots digital understanding required to lead digital transformations

Prior to joining McKinsey, Kate worked in JPMorgan Chase’s investment-banking division in London, advising on mergers, acquisitions, and debt restructuring.

Kate is a trustee of Tommy’s, the children’s charity.


The secrets to going digital,” McKinsey & Company, September 2015

McKinsey Minute: The mobile shopper’s new decision journey,” McKinsey on Marketing and Sales, September 2015

Published Work

Q&A with Kate Smaje,” (PDF–1.9 MB) McKinsey & Company, June 2017

The state of fashion,” McKinsey & Company, December 2016

What's your digital quotient?,” HBR Ideacast, September 2015

‘Transformer in chief’: The new chief digital officer,“ McKinsey & Company, September 2015

Five habits for executives to become more digital,” McKinsey & Company, November 2014

The seven traits of effective digital enterprises,” McKinsey & Company, May 2014


University of Durham
BA, history