CEDA member profile: McKinsey & Company




Naveen Unni, Partner and Managing Partner, Perth, McKinsey & Company

Can you tell us a little about McKinsey & Company and what it does? 

McKinsey & Company is a large global management consulting firm. We’ve been around for over 90 years and in Australia for over 50 years. Globally, we have around 2000 partners and 20,000 employees. Our work is focused on delivering significant value to our clients on strategic, operational and organisational issues. 

Our clients come from a broad mix of private, public and social sector institutions. 

Our mission is to make distinctive, lasting and significant impact for our clients while attracting, retaining and developing exceptional people. 

What is your role with McKinsey & Company? 

I am the Managing Partner of McKinsey & Company’s Perth office. In my role I oversee local operations with 45 staff. I am also a leader of our Electric Power and Organisation Practices in Australia. My passion is in helping client executives grow personally and professionally, while delivering great work for their organisations. 

Can you take us through some of your career highlights? Is there a favourite project that you have worked on or an achievement that you are particularly proud of? 

Setting up the Perth office was a real career highlight for me. I came from India and two partner colleagues came from Europe to establish the office in Perth in 2012. To see it grow from the three of us to a team of 45 in a six-year period, during what was a pretty rough economic cycle for WA and continue to do well, has been a real career highlight for me. Linked to that is the real impact we have had with our clients and the local community in WA. 

Some of my most memorable projects have been around the pro bono work done here in the community. For example, we have worked with the Lions Eye Institute. The institute does fantastic work in the important area of eye health including working with Indigenous communities in the Kimberley. I also worked with UWA Business School to design and launch its full-time MBA program. Those projects have been very meaningful to me because we aim to be “here for good”. We are here to do good for the community and we are here for the long term. 

How did you first discover CEDA? 

When I was new to WA, CEDA was one of the first local organisations I got to know. I was impressed with CEDA’s ability to pull in great speakers and initiate conversations on issues that mattered and resonated with local audiences. CEDA was all about having the right conversations – and it was a great privilege to be invited to be a part of that journey. 

What are some of the ways in which McKinsey & Company engages with CEDA?

In one capacity or another McKinsey & Company would be involved in 8-10 CEDA events in Perth each year. That might be as a speaker at an event, sponsor or as a host of a corporate table. 

As an example, we are co-sponsors of the ‘Future of Work’ speaker’s series in WA with CEDA. This is a topic that McKinsey & Company is investing in globally and in Australia. It is a really important topic in Western Australia where the economy has been in transition these past few years. At McKinsey & Company we have people who are global experts in their fields. Some of them have been speakers at CEDA events and contributed to CEDA initiated conversations. I see CEDA as a partner in holding these dialogues and hope CEDA sees us as a partner too. 

McKinsey & Company staff are regular attendees at CEDA events too. There’s always great speakers and a great crowd at CEDA events. The events I’ve attended are always well organised and cover a wide range of topics. 

Is there a particular CEDA event or speaker that has stood out to you? 

The most memorable CEDA event for me was a lunch last year (2017) with the creative director for the Dark MOFO festival in Hobart. He showed us something that was very controversial at the time and made us think about the meaning of art. It’s good to discuss things that we might not usually discuss in our day-to-day work.
Earlier this year (2018) I enjoyed the presentation by WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt on macroeconomic reform in the state. The Treasurer was engaging, witty and thoughtful, and it was a privilege to sponsor/host the event.