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Sara Hudson


Works with consumer companies on strategy, growth, marketing and sales, M&A, and responses to disruption, and with private equity funds and principal investors across the deal life cycle

Sara advises consumer companies on strategy, growth, consumer insights, marketing and sales, branding, corporate finance, M&A, and merger management. As a leader of McKinsey’s consumer private equity work in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, she advises private equity funds and principal investors throughout the deal life cycle, including due diligence, portfolio company value creation, and exit support.

Sara has worked with companies in all stages of development, from proof of concept to scale-up and internationalization to global multinational. She has expertise in growth strategy, both organic and inorganic. She advises companies on how to address disruptions, such as shifting consumer preferences and the impact of the rise of digital and e-commerce. Her expertise in end-to-end deal management spans the entire value chain, from assessment of potential M&A targets to merger management, including complex carve-outs. As a former buy-side investor, Sara has a keen understanding of investor needs and expectations, including those of public markets.

Passionate about the advancement of women in professional services and finance, Sara cofounded and sponsors the London chapter of the firm’s initiative for women in private equity. She is the partner lead for women’s recruiting in McKinsey’s Ireland, Israel, and UK offices.

Sara began her career in the United States and has lived in the United Kingdom for more than ten years. She has advised companies headquartered in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America.

Examples of her work include the following:


  • managing the transformation of a global beauty retailer, including developing the commercial strategy (pricing, customer experience, marketing, digital, e-commerce, and store-footprint optimization), operating model redesign, and cost cutting
  • performing the corporate strategy review and a new business build for a global consumer goods company during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • developing the ten-year post-pandemic strategy, including “where to play” resource allocation, purpose, and operating model for the European sector of a global beverage company
  • guiding the brand strategy, including brand health and positioning, in-market execution, marketing effectiveness, SKU rationalization, and outside-in assessment of key competitors for a global consumer goods company
  • leading the resource allocation and “where-to-play” strategy for the full portfolio of a global consumer goods company across brands and geographies
  • managing the UK market-entrance strategy for a US-based beverage company


  • providing IPO support, including brand health and positioning, consumer segmentation, and “white space” assessment for a private equity-owned premium-apparel company
  • performing integration planning, including synergy capture, operating model redesign, and international growth strategy for the combined portfolios of two large, simultaneous acquisitions by a global consumer goods company
  • providing exit support, including developing the full potential plan and recommended operating model changes to capture opportunities for a major business unit of global consumer goods company
  • guiding the takeover-defense strategy for a proposed global consumer goods merger, which included a detailed assessment of synergies and standalone options
  • assisting in the carve-out of the consumer-health unit of a leading global pharmaceutical company
  • guiding numerous due-diligence programs across targets in consumer-facing industries

Prior to joining McKinsey, Sara was an investment analyst at a hedge fund, where she covered consumer stocks. She was also an investment banker at an investment banking, management, and securities organization, where she advised on capital structure, IPOs, leveraged buyouts, and M&A transactions.

Published Work

The beauty market in 2023: A special State of Fashion report,” McKinsey & Company, May 2023

Wellness worldwide: Consumer insights from four countries,” McKinsey & Company, April 2021

The great acceleration,” McKinsey & Company, July 2020

The next normal in consumer: Implications for M&A,” McKinsey & Company, June 2020

What beauty players can teach the consumer sector about digital disruption,” McKinsey & Company, April 2018

Past Experience

HealthCor Management
Long short equity analyst

Goldman Sachs
Investment banker


Dartmouth College
BA, economics and government