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Sebastian Stern

Senior Partner, Hamburg
Creates impact at the interface of public and private sector by working on topics around digitization and technology, innovation, and organizational change with clients ranging from transportation and infrastructure to labor markets and public security

About Sebastian

Sebastian supports organizations at the public and private sector interface. His extensive public sector experience spans organizations in German and European public administration on topics including employment, defense, security, and IT.

In the private sector, Sebastian’s expertise includes transportation and infrastructure both in Germany and internationally. He leads McKinsey’s global rail and urban transit work, serving passenger and cargo rail operators and infrastructure providers across regions. In both the public and private sectors, Sebastian supports clients on topics including digitization, sustainable performance transformation, strategy, and operations.

Sebastian is a cofounder and advisory board member of Lumics, McKinsey’s joint venture with Lufthansa Technik providing specialized support for maintenance and operations implementation programs. He also founded Orphoz, specializing in supporting the public sector.

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

  • designing the rollout plan for digitizing the rail infrastructure in a major European country with an investment volume of 40 billion euros over 20 years
  • defining and implementing an operating model for digitizing over 500 government services across federal, state, and municipal level
  • shaping the strategy for “digital sovereignty” in telecom and IT services for a major European country
  • redesigning the digital maintenance and production steering logic for a European rail operator
  • setting up an innovation change organization for a major European public agency

Sebastian also serves on the board of the nonprofit organization “Initiative für frühkindliche Bildung” which leverages digital to support early childhood education.

Published Work

Road work ahead: The emerging revolution in the road construction industry,” McKinsey & Company, March 2021

Digitizing Europe’s railways: A call to action,” McKinsey & Company, December 2020

Using analytics to get European rail maintenance on track,” McKinsey & Company, June 2020

Navigating the post-COVID-19 era: A strategic framework for European recovery,” McKinsey & Company, June 2020

Restoring public transit amid COVID-19: What European cities can learn from one another,” McKinsey & Company, June 2020

The future of maintenance for distributed fixed assets,” McKinsey & Company, June 2020

How growth can help Europe’s companies face the coming economic crisis,” McKinsey & Company, May 2020

How purpose-led missions can help Europe innovate at scale,” McKinsey & Company, December 2019

Safeguarding Europe’s livelihoods: Mitigating the employment impact of COVID-19,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

An integrated perspective on the future of mobility, part 3: Setting the direction toward seamless mobility,” McKinsey & Company, January 2019

Transit investments in an age of uncertainty,” McKinsey & Company, March 2020


WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management
PhD, organizational development and performance management
Diploma, business administration

IGC Business School
Diploma, economics

University of Southern California
PhD, organizational development and performance management
Diploma, business administration