James Manyika is a director of the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), McKinsey & Company's economics research arm, and a director (senior partner) of McKinsey based in San Francisco. As a leader in McKinsey's Global High-Tech and Strategy Practice, he serves several of the world’s leading communication, Internet, software, and systems companies on a variety of issues, in particular, growth and innovation, strategy, and organization.

James has led several major research efforts, including McKinsey's Technology Initiative on the impact of technology on business, the economy, and society, in collaboration with several executives and leading companies and academics at Oxford University, MIT, and UC–Berkeley. He also led other McKinsey research on IT productivity, the knowledge economy, and the global high-tech industry, working with MGI and the High-Tech Practice. This research has featured prominently in leading publications, including the Financial Times, Economist, Les Echos, and the McKinsey Quarterly, and in an op-ed, "The coming imperative for the world’s knowledge economy," which appeared in the Financial Times. He has also published a book on distributed networks and decentralized decision theory as well as numerous academic and business articles.

James has appeared as a speaker and panelist at numerous technology and business forums, as well as on radio and television in dialogues with Nobel Prize–winning economists. For the past ten years, he has coconvened a roundtable of leading Silicon Valley CEOs as well as the Aspen Institute Technology roundtable, bringing together executives and policy makers from around the world.

Prior to joining McKinsey, he was on the engineering faculty at Oxford University, elected research fellow at Balliol College. He was a visiting scientist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; and faculty exchange fellow at MIT. A Rhodes Scholar and a Smith-Rippon Senior Scholar, James holds Ph.D., M.Sc., and M.A. degrees from Oxford in electrical engineering, mathematics, and computer science, and as an Anglo-American Scholar, he graduated with a first-class B.Sc. in electrical engineering from the University of Zimbabwe.

James is a trustee of the Aspen Institute, the World Affairs Council of California, and SF Jazz. He is an advisor to the Global Philanthropy Forum and serves on the Rhodes Selection Committee for California. Far from his native city of Harare, he and his wife, Dr. Sarah Manyika, and their son Julian live in San Francisco.