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Scott Rutherford

Senior PartnerWashington DC

Helps defense and security agencies, financial institutions, and executives in a range of sectors tackle strategic, organizational, and operational challenges

Scott leads our Washington DC office and helps oversee our work with defense and security agencies. He also directs our work on organizational insights globally, providing clients with expertise and support on organizational research and information issues, including diagnostic tools, survey design, and data analysis. He has been involved in more than 200 projects with both private- and public-sector institutions since joining McKinsey in 2000.

In the past few years, Scott has focused on helping public-sector clients with complex issues involving strategy, organizational health, human capital, and large-scale operational transformation.  Scott serves private-sector clients in a variety of industries including insurance, private equity, and telecommunications, and works with nonprofit institutions.

Examples of his work include:

  • advising a US government agency on a strategy redesign and operational-efficiency effort that transformed its strategic processes and refocused its major functions, as well as identifying more than $300 million in IT savings
  • directing a US government agency’s operations-improvement effort, including designing and implementing the change program; assessing talent and capability requirements; redefining accountabilities, roles, and responsibilities; and piloting a new regional concept to improve management and capture economies of scale and scope
  • counseling senior leaders at a US government agency on a year-long project to improve its career- and leadership-development program, culminating in a new approach for developing and managing human capital
  • helping a disaster-relief group diagnose critical strategy gaps and organizational challenges, leading to a board-approved strategy and a significant redesign of the organization.

Scott holds a degree in chemistry from the University of Kansas and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Before joining McKinsey, he worked as a territory manager for Genzyme and served as an armor cavalry officer in the US Army.

Published work

Transforming the talent model in the insurance industry,” McKinsey & Company, July 2020

Lessons from the military for COVID-time leadership,” McKinsey & Company, May 2020

Getting practical about the future of work,” McKinsey Quarterly, January 2020

The future of work in America: People and places, today and tomorrow,” McKinsey & Company, July 2019

A dynamic strategy for uncertain times,” McKinsey on Government, Spring 2010 (PDF–487 KB)

Past experience

Territory manager

US Army
Armor cavalry officer


Harvard Business School
MBA in Business Administration

University of Kansas
BA in Chemistry