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Tom Kolaja

Senior PartnerLondon

Coleads our activist response work in Europe and leads global clients undergoing transformation, managing through distress, or responding to activist investor challenges

Tom coleads our activist response work in Europe. He specializes in leading global clients undergoing transformation, managing through distress, or responding to activist investor challenges, frequently taking interim C-suite roles.

Tom has partnered with executive teams to design and execute full enterprise transformation of public, private, and PE-owned companies in the automotive supplier, steel and non-ferrous metal, light manufacturing, building materials, aerospace, financial services, chemical, services, fast-moving consumer goods, retail distribution, and paper sectors. Examples of Tom’s recent client work include the following:

  • leading a recovery-and-transformation services (RTS) full enterprise turnaround of a public German tier-one automotive supplier with a global plant footprint
  • leading a FTSE-50 aerospace group through an enterprise-wide RTS transformation
  • leading the Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America RTS transformation of a US public building-services company
  • leading the redesign of the 18-country (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) operating model for a public IT company based in the United States

Tom also frequently counsels senior executives of leading global and European public companies on response strategies to activists and hostile takeovers.

Previously, Tom led the transformation work in Europe of a global professional services firm, managing six offices in Germany as well as Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Before that, he founded Kolaja & Partners, a leading boutique consultancy in CEE based on turnaround and restructuring. Earlier in his career, he was an investment banker at a leading global investment bank, and a chemist at one of the largest pharma companies in the world.

Tom has pursued his interest in higher education, having served as vice-chair of Ohio State University Alumni Association, as well as being board member on the Polish–American Fulbright Commission. He also proudly served on the board of Transparent Agents and Contracting Entities (TRACE), the leading anticorruption non-profit serving Fortune 500 companies. Tom is fluent in German and Polish.

Published work

When investors call: How your business should talk about coronavirus,” McKinsey & Company, March 2020

Managing a manufacturing plant through the coronavirus crisis,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

Past experience

Alvarez & Marsal
Head of European corporate transformation services

Kolaja & Partners
Managing partner

Goldman Sachs
Senior associate in investment banking

Bayer AG


Northwestern University
MA, engineering

Ohio State University
BSc, chemistry
BA, Russian language