About Nicolai

For over 15 years, Nicolai has served McKinsey clients in the Automotive & Assembly Sector. He is a member of the European leadership team of the A&A Sector, leading our activities in France and co-leading McKinsey's Automotive and Innovation Center. He is also orchestrating our McKinsey Digital Manufacturing Service Line. During his tenure with the firm, Nicolai has served over 20 OEMs and suppliers in the automotive and assembly industries.

Nicolai is an expert on strategies related to technology and innovation, large-scale operating models in engineering and procurement, and performance transformation. Recent projects have involved:

  • Designing and supporting turnaround programs for the product divisions of automotive suppliers. As part of this work, he identified EBIT improvement levers across the value chain (i.e., procurement, manufacturing, engineering, and sales)
  • Supporting a performance transformation program for a leading premium OEM. The program featured different work-streams to reduce operational costs and accelerate decision-making processes.
  • Introducing a holistic product cost management system at a passenger car OEM. The study included a detailed assessment of the processes, tools and methods for target costing, and defined the future system for proactive product cost management for new car development.
  • Designing and supporting a product development efficiency improvement program at an automotive supplier. The study consisted of the design and implementation of an R&D cost controlling system.
  • Defining a go-to-market strategy for an Asian commercial vehicle company for medium-duty trucks. The study focused on attaining a granular understanding of market development in terms of both countries and customers, deriving product specifications and positioning based on customer insights and value propositions.
  • Designing and leading a top management leadership capability building program. The program focused on training over 40 top talents via a “field-and-forum” approach, imparting the skills they needed to lead business, self and others.
  • Authoring McKinsey studies on the performance of automotive suppliers and on key trends in the automotive industry.

Nicolai is fluent in French and German. Before joining McKinsey, Nicolai studied in Munich, Paris, and Bremen.

Published work

The global electric-vehicle market is amped up and on the rise,” McKinsey & Company, May 2018

Dynamics in the global electric-vehicle market,” McKinsey & Company, July 2017


Ecole Centrale Paris
Ingénieur de Grandes Ecoles

Technical University of Munich
MS in mechanical engineering

University of Bremen
PhD in innovation and cooperation management