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Simon Blackburn

Senior Partner, Sydney
Helps public- and private-sector clients achieve lasting improvements in their performance, with a focus on implementing transformational change and building organizational health

About Simon

Simon is a senior partner in McKinsey’s Sydney office. He advises clients on a wide range of topics including organization, strategy, marketing, operations, and IT.

Simon leads our work on transformational change in Asia, with an emphasis on driving behavioral change to achieve lasting improvements in performance. In one recent project, he helped one of the world’s leading banks to design and execute a program to improve productivity across its entire cost base and save $350 million in spending within 16 months through a series of parallel initiatives to improve performance and health throughout the organization.

In addition, Simon is the co-leader of our Public Sector Practice in Australia, and has deep expertise in helping federal government departments to implement major reforms and policy initiatives. He recently advised a large government department on a series of reforms designed to secure multibillion-dollar efficiencies through an increase in the use of shared services and the revamping of procurement processes, among other measures.

Other examples of Simon’s projects include leading a collaboration between two federal agencies on a $100 million trial of smart-grid technologies; helping to develop an implementation plan for a $43 billion nationwide fiber-to-the-home broadband network; helping to drive the adoption of new health system technologies across a wide spectrum of healthcare providers and consumers; and conducting a comprehensive efficiency and effectiveness review for a federal government department.

Simon holds a PhD in engineering from the University of Cambridge and bachelor’s degrees in engineering and mathematics from the University of Sydney. He worked in McKinsey’s Boston office for 11 years before returning to his native Australia, and continues to support the board of Parents as Teachers, an international nonprofit organization headquartered in the United States. He also serves on the board of the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, a Sydney-based organization involved in the study of respiration and sleep. In his spare time, he is an avid skier and a former ski instructor.

Published work

Digital strategy in a time of crisis,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

Digital Australia: Seizing opportunity from the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” McKinsey & Company, May 2017

How do I transform my organization's performance?” (PDF-851 KB), McKinsey & Company, June 2011

How do I implement complex change at scale?” (PDF-884 KB), McKinsey & Company, May 2011

Past experience

Research engineer


University of Cambridge
PhD in engineering

University of Sydney
BEng in electrical engineering; BSc in mathematics