The top candidates for McKinsey’s India managing partner role

20 July 2021 3 min. read
More news on

With the promotion of McKinsey India leader Gautam Kumra to chairman of the firm’s Asia footprint, the search for his successor has kicked-off. A look at the top candidates most likely to fill Kumra’s shoes.

Gautam Kumra has led McKinsey’s India practice for more than four years – steering the company through times of rapid growth and helping clients navigate the ups and downs of India’s economy. He now moves on to take on a bigger mandate – chairing McKinsey & Company’s offices across Asia, including those in Australia, India, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia. 

Behind the scenes, McKinsey’s outgoing Asia chair Oliver Tonby is working with global CEO Bob Sternfels on finding the top replacement. They are currently interviewing potential candidates – with the new India managing partner to be announced within two weeks according to insiders close to the matter.

Alok Kshirsagar, Vivek Pandit and Rajat Dhawan - McKinsey & Company

The winning candidate will take charge of an India practice that spans 10 offices in cities including Gurugram, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai – and recorded nearly Rs. 3,000 crore in revenues for 2019-20, per an official filing with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. 

Three McKinsey India men are touted to win the contest for the corner office: senior partners Alok Kshirsagar, Vivek Pandit and Rajat Dhawan – each with more than twenty years of experience at McKinsey & Company in various consulting and leadership capacities. 

Three favourites

 Oxford-graduate Alok Kshirsagar has worked at McKinsey’s New York, London and Mumbai offices since joining the firm in 1996 – having led McKinsey’s Asia Risk practice and the McKinsey Asia Center in this time. A versatile clientele from tech startups to global corporations have concluded M&A deals, upscaling efforts and investment plans using his expertise in risk management, analytics, infrastructure and financial services. 

Vivek Pandit currently co-leads McKinsey’s global Private Equity and Principal Investment group – helping investors (private equity, sovereign wealth, pension, etc.) with value creation, upscaling, M&A and business transformation. A Stanford graduate: Pandit joined McKinsey in 2000 and has since held myriad leadership roles across the firm’s US, Europe, Africa and Asia offices.  

IIT graduate Rajat Dhawan joined McKinsey in 1997, and has since worked across offices in Asia, Europe and North America – currently heading up the firm’s Asia Pacific Advanced Industries practice from the New Delhi office. His experience spans several industries – and focuses on growth and performance management, operational excellence and a range of other business transformation areas.

“Widening the pool”

With these three reportedly the favourites, according to one McKinsey India partner, the strategy consulting firm might be best served with a fresh approach to leadership, by expanding the pool to “younger partners,” adding that a “shake-up” was needed at this stage to reflect broader leadership changes in the firm’s global practice. The ousting of former global CEO Kevin Sneader after a single term and wider scrutiny on the firm’s ethical profile might be driving factors here.

A wider pool would likely include: senior partner and India pharma lead Vikas Bhadoria; global energy & materials senior partner Amit Khera; senior partner and India marketing & sales lead Vikash Daga; senior partner and APAC banking lead Renny Thomas; senior partner and co-lead of India operations practice Ramesh Mangaleswaran; senior partner and Asia corporate & investment banking lead Akash Lal; and senior partner and real estate co-lead Subbu Narayanaswamy.