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Zachary Surak

Senior PartnerNew Jersey

Zachary Surak

Senior PartnerNew Jersey

Counsels executives in the financial services sector and beyond, with deep experience in operational transformation programs anchored on lean management practices that improve customer experience and drive a culture of continuous improvement

Since joining McKinsey in 2005, Zack has advised executives in the banking, insurance, high tech, media, and other sectors with service operations components. With a strong grounding in operational performance, Zack offers distinctive expertise at the intersection of financial services, lean management, and digital operations.

In the course of more than a decade of service to banks and insurance companies, Zack has directed projects focused on all aspects of transformation, with a special emphasis on improving the customer experience and establishing a culture of continuous improvement. He has led transformation initiatives for large, complex institutions with up to 100,000 employees. His work has contributed significantly to increased performance across the full value chain by improving sales and distribution, optimizing underwriting and core processing, and improving customer service.

Zack has also applied his expertise in designing and implementing transformation programs beyond the financial sector. For high tech, media, and retail companies, he focuses on operating-model redesign, digital transformation, and continuous improvement.

Examples of his work include the following:

  • redesigning the digital operations for a leading bank, including innovating product and service delivery across more than 60 global operations centers
  • setting a new operating-model strategy for a top-performing property and casualty (P&C) insurer, including implementing a new analytics center of excellence and driving continuous improvement in end-to-end processes
  • leading a multiyear transformation initiative for a global banking firm using a rapid zero-based design approach to improving customer journeys
  • guiding a comprehensive frontline transformation program for a large US P&C insurer, including delivering industry-leading performance in customer experience, employee engagement, efficiency, and growth

Pushing thinking forward on important operational topics, Zack publishes on McKinsey’s operations-focused extranet platform. He draws on a long-standing interest in writing for publication, dating back to his undergraduate years, when he was managing editor of The Daily Princetonian, and his graduate studies, when he was publisher and a board member of The Harbus News Corporation, the nonprofit student news organization of Harvard Business School.

Published Work

Smart scheduling for utilities: A fast solution for today’s priorities,” McKinsey & Company, January 2023

The Garden State in bloom: Cultivating New Jersey’s workforce of tomorrow,” McKinsey & Company, November 2022

AI-driven operations forecasting in data-light environments,” McKinsey & Company, February 2022

How AI-driven nudges can transform an operation’s performance,” McKinsey & Company, February 2022

Insurance resilience in a rapidly changing coronavirus world,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

Reseeding growth in the Garden State,” McKinsey & Company, July 2017

Building a culture of continuous improvement in insurance,” McKinsey & Company, April 2015


Harvard Business School

Princeton University
AB, economics