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Wenting Gao

Associate PartnerHouston

Works with energy and chemical clients as well as investors on sustainability strategy and green growth efforts

Wenting Gao is an associate partner in McKinsey’s Houston office. She coleads the firm’s work in sustainability strategy with global energy and materials in North America. She primarily works with oil, gas, and chemical clients as well as investors on sustainability, with a focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy, circular economy, energy transition, and green growth.

Some of her recent client work includes the following:

  • leading ESG strategy for a large oil and gas downstream company, from baseline setting to strategic portfolio assessment
  • leading a bottom-up adjacency pivot and energy-transition strategy for a large specialty chemical company, working with BU president
  • working with the CEO and executive team of a large North American chemicals company on ESG strategy (including decarbonization, circularity, diversity, and inclusion), and recycling busines scale-up
  • leading a project with an electric vehicle-charging special purpose acquisition company, focused on go-to-market strategy and operational scale-up
  • guiding the portfolio strategy and target diligences for a private equity-owned company focused on renewable energy value-chain services
  • developing a prioritization a framework and investment roadmap for global plastic recovery and reuse with leaders across the plastic value chain, including consumer packaged goods companies, resin producers, and waste management companies
  • designing the sustainability strategy and set-up sustainability organization for a Fortune 100 energy company (facilitating workshops and developing proprietary-prioritization tools)
  • creating a strategic risk framework for the board of a large, regulated utility in the United States and analyzing the impact of distributed energy resources (e.g., solar, storage, electric vehicle, and electrical engineering) in the service territory
  • proposing a renewables-investment roadmap for a large technology investor, including the outside-in perspective of industry trends, global opportunities, and strategic pathways (focused on solar, storage, and carbon credits)

In addition to her regular work, Wenting has coauthored several articles on sustainability, including carbon-footprint accounting for different materials, electric vehicle fleet charging, plastic recycling, and sustainability organization.

Prior to joining McKinsey, Wenting graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude with honors from Harvard University.

Published Work

A unique moment in time: Scaling plastics circularity,” McKinsey & Company, August 2023

Leading through uncertainty in the energy and materials sectors,” McKinsey & Company, July 2023

"Addressing the challenges of plastic waste: Circularity and leakage," McKinsey & Company, September 2022

How team structure and governance can unleash sustainability success,” blog entry, McKinsey & Company, January 2022

Organizing for sustainability success: Where, and how, leaders can start,” McKinsey & Company, August 2021

True packaging sustainability: Understanding the performance trade-offs,” McKinsey & Company, July 2021

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

Charging electric-vehicle fleets: How to seize the emerging opportunity,” McKinsey & Company, March 2020


Harvard University
BA, economics; environmental science and public policy