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Nelson Ferreira

Senior PartnerSão Paulo

Nelson Ferreira

Senior PartnerSão Paulo

Advises agriculture and mining companies in Brazil and Latin America, helping executives set strategy, manage supply chains, and drive operational transformation

Nelson is a trusted advisor to leading agribusiness companies and supports executives on a wide range of strategic, organizational, and operational challenges. He also advises private-, public-, and social-sector organizations on strategies for improving economic development. With an eye to optimizing performance, he has led end-to-end transformations in the agriculture and mining industries, in both developed and emerging markets.

Since joining McKinsey, Nelson has primarily helped clients achieve substantial value from supply-chain optimization, strategic planning, and organizational restructuring. Nelson has worked with companies all over the world, including the Americas, Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa. As an advisor to leading companies in Brazil and Latin America, he draws upon expertise in both agribusiness and agricultural development. With his support, leaders improve agricultural productivity and efficiency, inspire regional growth, establish commercial excellence, and optimize operations. In addition, he assists oil and biofuel companies—and investors in the energy sector—to better understand the future dynamics of the ethanol market.

Examples of his recent client work include the following:

  • transforming the operational performance of a major global agricultural-inputs company
  • leading a supply-chain transformation initiative for a leading seeds producer
  • directing an operations-turnaround project for a sugar-ethanol company, including labor and asset productivity, performance management, and organization redesign
  • helping a major fertilizer company achieve and sustain growthan effort that included extensive analysis of the competitive landscape
  • leading a portfolio review for a Latin American agricultural-commodities conglomerate, including which businesses to grow, maintain, or divest

During his tenure at McKinsey, Nelson has supported knowledge initiatives and written working papers on trends in agribusiness, with a focus on biofuels. In addition, he has offered leadership to efforts to define proprietary financial models for optimizing land usage. In his local community, Nelson is a member of the advisory board for the São Paulo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Published work

Striking the balance: Catalyzing a sustainable land-use transition,” McKinsey & Company, November 2023

A reflection on global food security challenges amid the war in Ukraine and the early impact of climate change,” McKinsey & Company, August 2022

Agriculture sector: Preparing for disruption in the food value chain,” McKinsey & Company, May 2020

Is there hidden treasure in the mining industry?,” McKinsey & Company, November 2015

“Option games”: Filling the hole in the valuation toolkit for strategic investment,” McKinsey & Company, October 2008


Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
MBA, finance and strategy

University of São Paulo
BS, industrial engineering