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Nick Santhanam

Senior Partner, Bay Area
Specializes in helping high-tech, semiconductor, industrial, and private-equity clients tackle operational and strategic challenges

About Nick

Nick is a senior partner in McKinsey’s Silicon Valley location and leads our work in industrials globally. He serves industrials and industrial-tech companies as well as private equity clients in the areas of margin optimization, organizational redesign, strategy and revenue growth, operations improvement, cost optimization, and strategy.

Examples of Nick’s recent experiences include the following:

  • margin optimization and cash-generation program for a mid-sized industrial company which drove a seven hundred percent stock-price increase, helped the company avoid bankruptcy, and improved its EBITDA by one thousand basis points (bps)
  • end-to-end revenue, costs, and balance sheet effort for a food processing and equipment company which improved its EBITDA by eight hundred bps
  • due-diligence on revenue “bankability” and operational improvement potential for a cutting tool company that helped a private equity company lean forward and win the deal
  • post-merger integration of a tier-one capital equipment company to deliver more than 200 million dollars in cost synergies 12 months ahead of schedule
  • selling, general, and administrative expense (SG&A) lean-out in a large tier-one tech company to improve operating expenditures by more than 30 percent
  • value pricing and transactional pricing improvements for a mid-sized pump manufacturer to improve EBITDA by 350 bps
  • global manufacturing footprint optimization for a tier-one company above 10 billion dollars
  • lean roll-out across multiple sites in the US and Japan for electronic component companies

Nick is the global convener of several McKinsey annual events, including the industrial CEO event (GILS), industrial-tech and semiconductors CEO event (T-30), food processing CEO event (FPH-30), and Senior Tech Influencers Summit (TEDS). He is also the driving force behind our leading industrials research McKinsey on Industrials, McKinsey on Food Processing and Handling, and McKinsey on Packaging.

Prior to joining McKinsey, Nick worked as a technical manager at a printed circuit board (PCB) and ceramics manufacturer in New York. Before, he worked as a manufacturing engineer at another PCB and ceramics manufacturer in their Delaware facility.

Nick has an MS in chemical engineering from University of Illinois and an MBA in strategic management and finance from the Wharton School University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Ford and Palmer scholar.


The future of packaging,” McKinsey & Company, October 2019

Published work

Creating value in the specialty-pumps market,” McKinsey & Company, September 2021

The next wave of innovation in photonics,” McKinsey & Company, June 2021

Navigating opportunity in the US personal-protective-equipment market,” McKinsey & Company, February 2021

Value creation in industrials,” McKinsey & Company, November 2020

Why now is the time to stress-test your industrial supply chain,” McKinsey & Company, July 2020

Energizing industrial manufacturing through active performance management,” McKinsey & Company, May 2020

Construction and building technology: Poised for a breakthrough?,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

Building a flexible supply chain in low-volume, high-mix industrials,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

The case for an end-to-end automotive-software platform,” McKinsey & Company, January 2020

Eliminating roadblocks to Accelerated Performance Transformation,” McKinsey & Company, October 2019

A new approach to Accelerated Performance Transformation,” McKinsey & Company, October 2019

Flow control: Sector at a crossroads?,” McKinsey & Company, July 2019

Packaging solutions: Poised to take off?,” McKinsey & Company, July 2019

The coming shakeout in industrial distribution,” McKinsey & Company, May 2019

Industrial robotics: Opportunities for manufacturers of end effectors,” McKinsey & Company, February 2019

Blockchain 2.0: What’s in store for the two ends—semiconductors (suppliers) and industrials (consumers)?,” McKinsey & Company, January 2019

Accelerating profitability for medium-size industrial companies,” McKinsey & Company, January 2019

Artificial-intelligence hardware: New opportunities for semiconductor companies,” McKinsey & Company, January 2019

Right product, right time, right location: Quantifying the semiconductor supply chain,” McKinsey & Company, December 2018

Laying the foundation for success in the connected-building era,” McKinsey & Company, October 2018

Creating value at industrial companies through advanced pricing techniques,” McKinsey & Company, August 2018

The US cutting-tools market: What changes lie ahead?,” McKinsey & Company, July 2018

What’s ahead for food processing and handling?,” McKinsey & Company, May 2018

Graphene: The next S-curve for semiconductors?,” McKinsey & Company, April 2018

Artificial intelligence: The time to act is now,” McKinsey & Company, January 2018

What’s ahead for industrials?,” McKinsey & Company, March 2017

Executive perspective: Vincent Roche, CEO of Analog Devices, on the next wave in semiconductors,” McKinsey & Company, September 2014

Trend spotting: Qualcomm executives consider the next wave of growth in semiconductors,” McKinsey & Company, September 2014

Exploring SynBio's potential for semiconductor players,” McKinsey on Semiconductors, Autumn 2013 (PDF–501 KB)

The hunt for revenue: A case for further granularity,” McKinsey on Semiconductors, Autumn 2013 (PDF–501 KB)

The potential shake-up in semiconductor manufacturing business models,” McKinsey on Semiconductors, Autumn 2013 (PDF–455 KB)

Finding the next $100 billion in semiconductor revenues,” McKinsey on Semiconductors, Autumn 2012 (PDF–455 KB)

What will enable alpha growth?McKinsey on Semiconductors, Autumn 2012 (PDF–378 KB)

“The challenge of China,” McKinsey on Semiconductors, Autumn 2011

A better way to measure shop floor costs,” McKinsey Quarterly, August 2010

Past experience

Technical manager

Manufacturing engineer


The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
MBA in strategic management and finance; Ford Fellow and Palmer Scholar

University of Illinois
MS in chemical engineering