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Paul Rutten


Helps leaders address large-scale quality challenges and achieve stronger results, working across healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and other operations-intensive sectors.

Paul leads McKinsey’s work in quality globally, as part of our Operations Practice. He is a leader in our Life Sciences Practice and leads our healthcare work in the Benelux. He is also a geographical leader in the Netherlands for the McKinsey Health Institute, a non-profit-generating entity within the firm that aspires to catalyze action to add 45 billion years of higher-quality life for all people around the world. Since joining McKinsey in 1998, he has helped complex organizations set and achieve higher quality standards while improving operations.

Drawing on his experience in leading large-scale improvement programs, Paul addresses challenges related to quality, manufacturing, and supply chain. Often advising clients in the pharmaceuticals, healthcare, and consumer goods sectors he ensures that programs build capabilities and instill new ways of working.

Paul’s focus on quality, compliance, and remediation led him to sponsor McKinsey’s quality benchmarks, which give companies insights into quality culture, quality performance, quality system maturity, and quality productivity based on data from hundreds of production sites.

Examples of Paul’s recent client work include the following:

  • designing a new quality operating model for a large international pharmaceuticals and medical device firm
  • leading a multi-year, billion-dollar operations transformation across quality, manufacturing, supply, and procurement at a high-tech company
  • leading the transformation of an academic medical center; improving quality of care, patient experience, and employee satisfaction and efficiency
  • identifying quality risks for a global chemicals company and kickstarting the quality transformation
  • identifying opportunities in supply networks to deliver multi-billion dollar growth to biotech and cell and gene therapy companies
  • optimizing the operations of a top-ten biotech company through a large-scale portfolio of transformation projects to improve quality, boost productivity, and build capabilities.

Actively engaged in his community in the Netherlands, Paul is chair of the foundation leerKRACHT, or “teaching force”, which is responsible for improving the quality of education at more than 750 schools serving over 300,000 students. He is also a founder and member of the advisory board of Nationale DenkTank (National ThinkTank), a foundation that explores solutions to social issues.

Published work

Vital signs: Emergency medicine for distressed manufacturing sites,” McKinsey & Company, April 2024

Strengthening national security through a more resilient supply chain,” McKinsey & Company, February 2024

How sterile pharma manufacturers can grow capacity without capital investment,” McKinsey & Company, January 2023

Emerging from disruption: The future of pharma operations strategy,” McKinsey & Company, October 2022

Digitale zorg in Nederland,” [In Dutch], McKinsey & Company, October 2020

Winter is coming: What’s next in COVID-19 testing,” McKinsey & Company, September 2020

Why tech transfer may be critical to beating COVID-19,” McKinsey & Company, July 2020

Contact tracing for COVID-19: New considerations for its practical application,” McKinsey & Company, May 2020

Een verstevigd fundament voor iedereen. Onderzoek naar de doelmatigheid en toereikendheid van het basisonderwijs en voortgezet onderwijs (research into Dutch education quality and efficiency),” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

The leerKRACHT foundation: Continuous improvement in Dutch education,” McKinsey & Company, February 2020

“Digitale zorg in Nederland. Gezondheid en zorg van morgen beter,
goedkoper en meer patiëntgericht (Digital health care in the Netherlands),” McKinsey & Company, September 2019

Manufacturing quality today: Higher quality output, lower cost of quality,” McKinsey & Company, September 2017

Flawless: From measuring failure to building quality robustness in pharma,” McKinsey & Company, February 2015

Are you scared of your employees,” McKinsey & Company, April 2014

“Who’s afraid of their employees? Gemba as a foundational practice for quality,” McKinsey & Company, 2013


Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Business

Delft University
M.S., applied physics