Handelsblatt Exclusive From Top Consultant to Investor

Frank Mattern, a long-time head of McKinsey in Germany, has confirmed he will be leaving the company on September 1. His sights are set on becoming a private consultant and investor.
Mr. Mattern's successor will have big shoes to fill. Photo: Soeren Stache / dpa

Frank Mattern, the former head of McKinsey in Germany and one of the company's most well-known figures, has decided to leave the management consulting firm.

“I’m resigning on 1 September 2017,” the 55-year-old, who currently leads McKinsey's global recruitment operations, confirmed to Handelsblatt. “I’ve achieved everything I could ever achieve in this firm. Mission accomplished.”

He will not be looking for a new employer, but instead has plans to set up as an independent consultant for public and private projects in Frankfurt.

“Investments in companies will certainly also play a part. I’ve already invested in a small growth enterprise,” he said.

Mr. Mattern also said that he will keep an open mind about joining supervisory boards, which have the power to hire and fire executives and set broad strategy for companies in Germany. That’s likely to catch the attention of Germany's top controllers as Mr. Mattern, with his 27 years experience at McKinsey, has gained a reputation as an especially thoughtful company leader.

He leaves a big gap all the same.

Mr. Mattern announced his departure last Friday during a strategy meeting for McKinsey Germany's senior partners in Berlin. As a partner, Mr. Mattern has decided to make use of a contractual provision allowing him to sell his McKinsey shares back to the company at the age of 55 after he leaves.

While many at McKinsey were unsurprised by the decision, one participant at the strategy meeting summed up the company's sentiment towards the departure: "He leaves a big gap all the same.”

Indeed, a look at the role Mr. Mattern has played in the company shows the sizable shoes his successor will have to fill. Starting out as a specialist in finance, Mr. Mattern is currently in charge of recruiting new staff worldwide and has been in the 31-member Shareholders Council – the firm’s highest decision-making body  – for 15 years.

Before that, he was head of McKinsey in Germany from 2007 to 2013. He has also led a division advising the German federal government on refugee issues. The sensitive and high-profile post, coming after nearly 1 million refugees entered the country in the last two years, helped increase personnel at Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, which is tasked with managing the inflow.

Founded in New York in 1926, McKinsey is a globally-operated company and completely owned by its partners. It employs 12,000 consultants worldwide, with some 1,400 in Germany. Mr. Mattern was one of the youngest employees ever to make partner in the firm.

McKinsey is known for its intense work environment and the high demands it places on staff. However, the company also has a reputation for paying high salaries. Those like Mr. Mattern who have made partner and sold their shares back to the company generally enjoy life-long financial security. And while many former partners choose to sit back and enjoy retirement, Mr. Mattern appears to have other ambitions.


Grischa Brower-Rabinowitsch is head of Handelsblatt's companies and markets section and is based in Düsseldorf. Contact him at [email protected]