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Robert E. Lewis

Senior PartnerSouthern California

Robert E. Lewis

Senior PartnerSouthern California

Leads large-scale performance improvement and operational excellence programs for industrial and basic materials companies, and advises private equity clients acquiring and leading turnarounds in the metals and mining sector

As a long-standing leader in McKinsey’s Operations Practice and the global leader of McKinsey Implementation, Robert partners with clients to produce rapid, significant, and sustainable results in costs, productivity, quality, and other metrics. For more than two decades, he has helped the leadership of industrial companies transform their performance by driving capital productivity; boosting operational efficiency; changing operating cultures, from the CEO to the front line; and setting strategic directions. A former chemical engineer, Robert focuses on realizing operational improvements and impact in complex global organizations.

Robert has particular expertise in understanding the value and hidden opportunities of industrial companies. Taking a broad view of the interplay among strategy, operations, and capital planning, he ensures that his clients develop the conditions for long-term success, including an aligned leadership team, integrated initiatives to deliver value, the operational infrastructure to ensure disciplined execution, and a systematic program to build leadership and functional skills.

Examples of his work include:

  • conducting a broad-based performance diagnostic for a diamond producer and implementing recommendations in the areas of external spend, productivity, mine planning and strategy, and energy efficiency
  • helping a US metals company address leadership and strategic challenges, with a focus on improving operational cash flow and working capital through a program of cost and productivity initiatives
  • helping a global specialty chemicals manufacturer deliver productivity improvements in operations, purchasing, research and development, and overheard functions across five regions
  • engineering the turnaround of a traditional gold mining company, guiding management as they reprioritized operational improvement efforts and redeployed working capital
  • designing a turnaround program for a North American metals company, including new product strategy, organization redesign, M&A planning, and purchasing improvement.

Before joining McKinsey, Robert worked in Product Development and Plant Engineering in Procter and Gamble’s manufacturing organization. He currently serves on the board of the Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles and served on the Dean’s Advisory for the UC Irvine’s Graduate School of Business where he also is a guest lecturer.

Published work

Fine-tuning the growth engine: M&A in engineering and construction,” McKinsey & Company, June 2019

Past experience

Procter and Gamble Company
Product Development and Plant Engineer


Harvard Business School

Stanford University
BS, chemical engineering