Profile: John Livingston '93
Chicago director works to 'sustain position'
Livingston '93 says firm's success will continue, thanks to
he settles into his new role as managing partner of McKinsey
& Co.'s Chicago office, John Livingston '93 plans
to build on the firm's success by doing more of the same:
innovating to meet clients' needs.
a company-wide credo, says Livingston. But as one of the larger
offices, Chicago provides leadership in this effort to keep
continue to serve leading clients on their most difficult
issues," the Kellogg School graduate says. "Those
issues are becoming more cross-cutting and transformative.
It's not enough just to do the strategy, but [projects involve]
integrating strategy and linking it to operations. I'm sure
that kind of work will continue to increase."
280 consultants and about 400 employees overall, the Chicago
office is part of a five-city Midwest division that counts
operations (39 percent), strategy (29 percent) and marketing
(17 percent) among its top areas of focus, and auto assembly
(21 percent), banking and securities (17 percent), healthcare
(14 percent) and high-tech (12 percent) among its busiest
office and each practice has its own unique characteristics,
but we try to build as one firm," Livingston says. "To
be able to sustain the position we have, we need to continue
to differentiate the knowledge and capabilities we bring to
our clients. That requires a hell of a lot more investment
[in people and research] than it did five or 10 years ago.
Our clients are becoming more and more capable in building
their own skills. We have to make sure we're always able to
own client base, with which he continues to work as managing
partner, has shifted from high-tech and corporate finance,
to telecommunications and high-tech media, he says. His clientele
evolved while he spent nearly a decade working for McKinsey
in South Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia and China after his graduation
from Northwestern University with a joint MBA and law degree.
says he greatly values the experiences of his time abroad:
from helping to open the South Africa office in the immediate
post-apartheid era, to consulting in China during a time of
tremendous economic growth.
was a fast-paced and wonderful time in South Africa,"
he recalls. "The competition, which had been excluded
from the market, was just then entering it. And the opportunity
to watch China grow from where it was in 1999, when I got
there, to when I left in 2003, was amazing."
manage internal change and growth in the Chicago office, Livingston
plans to underscore McKinsey's traditional emphases on collegiality
among associates and partners, through both social activities
and pro bono work. The McKinsey office has done the latter
for the Chicago Housing Authority, Chicago Public Schools
and The Joffrey Ballet, he says.
always brings people together when you're doing something
for others," he says. "We're going to do a lot more
to connect the partners and our associates on initiatives
outside the scope of client work."
also plans to reemphasize his office's role in developing
younger employees, through peer-to-peer training and coaching
from managers and partners. He says his Kellogg School experience
prepared him well for the team-building aspects of his role
as managing partner.
with other people and understanding how they work is absolutely
critical," he says. "Being leader of the Chicago
office, the importance of this goes up. The functional skills
are incredibly important, as well. But what you're really
learning is how to think and learn and behave in a business
Kellogg connection is beneficial in other ways too.
connections I made at Kellogg remain with me to this day,"
he says. "Good friends and personal relationships —
I treasure all of those."
broadly, from McKinsey's perspective, "Kellogg is a terrific
source of talent for us," Livingston says. "We will
continue to reinforce and extend that."