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Theo Jan Simons


Works with petrochemicals and downstream companies on strategy and portfolio management, performance transformation, M&A, and growth, and leads McKinsey's Chemicals Insight and plastics recycling initiatives.

Theo Jan leads our petrochemicals work globally. For more than twenty years, he has offered consulting support to a broad range of companies in the chemicals and energy sectors. He also leads McKinsey on Chemicals, McKinsey's publication series that explores the changing chemicals landscape.

Keenly interested in understanding industry dynamics, TJ is the founder and coleader of Chemicals Insight. This advanced analytics team focuses on developing deep insights into petrochemicals markets and economics, including assessing cost curves, price-setting mechanisms, global trade flow, and regional value pools.

Recently, TJ also launched and leads McKinsey’s initiative on plastics recycling, and he currently advises companies and industry associations as they work toward a circular economy.

Before joining McKinsey, TJ was a partner at an international management consulting firm and a multinational professional services company. He spent his early career working in R&D, operations, and business development at a petrochemicals company in Europe and Asia.

Published work

Petrochemicals in 2022: A return to normalcy, with uncertainty ahead,” McKinsey & Company, February 2023

Reimagining Mexico’s chemical industry,” McKinsey & Company, October 2022

"From crude oil to chemicals: How refineries can adapt to shifting demand" McKinsey & Company, June 2022

Advanced recycling: Opportunities for growth,” McKinsey & Company, May 2022

Petrochemicals 2021: Regional fortunes and growing sustainability,” McKinsey & Company, April 2022

Inbound freight: The savings opportunity chemical players overlook,” McKinsey & Company, August 2021

Petrochemicals 2020: A year of resilience and the road to recovery,” McKinsey & Company, May 2021

The impact of COVID-19 on the global petrochemical industry,” McKinsey & Company, October 2020

The European recycling landscape—the quiet before the storm?,” McKinsey & Company, August 2020

Plastics recycling: Using an economic-feasibility lens to select the next moves,” McKinsey & Company, March 2020

Accelerating plastic recovery in the United States,” McKinsey & Company, December 2019

Chemicals and capital markets: Searching for a way back to the winner’s podium,” McKinsey & Company, November 2019

How plastics waste recycling could transform the chemical industry,” McKinsey & Company, December 2018

No time to waste: What plastics recycling could offer,” McKinsey & Company, September 2018

Chemicals and capital markets: Back at the top,” McKinsey & Company, May 2018

Petrochemicals 2030: Reinventing the way to win in a changing industry,” McKinsey & Company, February 2018

Fighting commoditization of chemicals with a better commercial model,” McKinsey & Company, August 2017

Chemicals 2025: Will the industry be dancing to a very different tune?” McKinsey & Company, March 2017

Past experience

Arthur D. Little


Shell Chemicals
R&D, Manufacturing, Business Development


Einhoven University of Technology
MSc (Ir), chemical engineering