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Tom Isherwood

Senior PartnerDubai

Leads our Public & Social Sector Practice and supports government clients in more than 10 countries across Middle East, Europe, and Asia on topics related to technology and economic reform

Tom focuses on supporting government clients on topics related to technology and economic reform. Over the past ten years, he has served public sector institutions in more than 10 countries across the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.

He has a proven track record partnering with ambitious public sector leaders on a range of topics.

Some examples of his recent work include the following:

  • setting national-level strategic direction, from initial vision setting to concrete planning, budgeting, and execution across more than 100 agencies
  • driving concrete financial and economic impact, including improving budgeting and fiscal stewardship, deploying economic stimulus in times of crisis, and increasing non-oil revenues through innovative levers and analytics to reduce revenue leakage
  • driving technology adoption, including digitizing critical government processes, applying machine learning in reducing fraud, and using big data to evaluate policy decisions
  • building sustainable capabilities, including building new agencies and departments from the ground up

Prior to joining the firm, Tom received a master of philosophy with distinction in modern Middle Eastern studies from Oxford University. Though Tom is a native English speaker, he is also conversational in Arabic.

Published work

The Middle East public cloud: A multibillion-dollar prize waiting to be captured,” McKinsey & Company, January 2024

Unlocking the potential of generative AI: Three key questions for government agencies,” McKinsey & Company, December 2023

The state of AI in GCC countries—and how to overcome adoption challenges,” McKinsey & Company, May 2023

Digital consumers in the Middle East: Rising adoption and opportunity,” McKinsey & Company, December 2022

The potential value of AI—and how governments could look to capture it,” McKinsey & Company, July 2022

Rethinking resilience: Ten priorities for governments,” McKinsey & Company, November 2020

How customs agencies can help special economic zones succeed,” McKinsey & Company, August 2019

Telematics: Poised for strong global growth,” McKinsey & Company, April 2018

“The sector that Riyadh should focus on,” MEED, April 2016

Moving Saudi Arabia’s economy beyond oil,” McKinsey Global Institute, December 2015

Education to Employment: Designing a system that works,” McKinsey & Company, January 2013


University of Oxford
MPhil, modern Middle Eastern studies

University of Delaware
MA, political science
BA, economics, international relations