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Case Studies by Brian Henry

34 case studies

by Publication Date
published: 25 Sep 2017

  • Topic: Family Business
  • Industry: Household furniture
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
The case is about a small family-owned business making fine bone china in South Korea, whose founder was driven by a sense of filial piety, one of the principles of Confucianism. This emphasizes respect for parents, elders and children, and the idea that they will be taken care of in times of need. Exemplary behaviour is expected from children in public in order to reflect well on their family name and ancestors. Fraternity among brothers is also emphasized to prevent disputes arising out of sibling rivalry. The case explores how successive generations kept these values alive within the family, the company, and its employees. It also describes how more recently, Hankook Chinaware has lost significant market share on the domestic front as because of an influx of low-cost Chinese products flooding South Korea.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Instructors can use this case for specific situations in which the principles of Confucianism are being taught. Family business instructors who run courses in Asia-Pacific may find it particularly relevant as it deals with concepts relevant to the region. The case is short and easy to read. From a technical point of view, it can be used to shed light on the transfer of pottery skills from one generation to the next. Instructors can also use it to highlight how external market forces can transform a niche business into a commodity industry where profit margins are squeezed beyond breaking point.

Keywords:
Hankook Chinaware, Confucianism, South Korea, Porcelain, Luxury Chinaware, Dinner Plates, Dinner Plates, Pottery, Filial Piety, Wedgwood, Prouna, Vases, Josiah Wedgwood, Fine Bone China

published: 28 Aug 2017

  • Topic: Entrepreneurship
  • Industry: Fashion
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
This case illustrates solutions to a) the vexing problem of how to stop counterfeit luxury goods from being sold on the Internet; and b) the larger issue of how to sell lots of pre-owned personal luxury goods without fear of undermining their lofty prices. When the “fake luxury goods” problem first appeared in the mid-2000s, brands like L’Oreal, Hermès and Tiffany responded by taking one of the biggest online marketplaces, eBay, to court. The big brands won millions in damages and dragged eBay’s name through the mud for years to come. But on the sidelines were three different sets of entrepreneurs, almost all French, who saw in this scandal the opportunity of a lifetime. Separately they launched three competing digital platforms where pre-owned luxury products can be bought and sold on the condition that they are fully authenticated by experts. While all three are still in business, the company that started with six co-founders has been the most successful. This case examines the role of all six people and why eight years later the two “techies” were able to leave the company on good terms.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case can be taught in executive education and elective MBA courses in luxury management, organizational behavior and entrepreneurship. With the case, instructors can focus on a wide range of issues related to both the sourcing and distribution of second-hand personal luxury goods within a global market. When sellers first offer goods for sale on the Vestiaire Collective platform, curators take them through a number of steps to ensure that the products are suitable for inclusion in the catalogue. Matching supply with demand is a key variable of success in this business, since fashion products have an especially unique set of characteristics that vary from one region to another, from one designer to another and from one epoch to another. Once a purchase is concluded, curators then ascertain if the actual product conforms to the seller’s description and is a genuine item. Creating trust among customers is also an absolute necessity in this business. In sum, instructors can use the case to discuss the essentials of business and management in an easily accessible setting.

Keywords:
Digital Platforms, E-Commerce, Fashion, Product Certification, Authentic Goods, Counterfeit Goods, Personal Luxury Goods, Premium Designer Clothes, Vintage Clothes, Curation, Concierge Service, Videdressing, Vestiaire Collective, Instantluxe

published: 03 Jul 2017

  • Topic: Family Business
  • Industry: Apparel
  • Region: South America

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Abstract:
A well-known lingerie retailer in Colombia, Leonisa is a family-owned company that barely survived a second-generation succession crisis. Brothers Joaquín and Julio Ernesto Urrea founded the firm in 1956, and over 50 years built one of the most recognizable brands in Latin America. While they each had an equal stake in the company, their respective families were not of equal size: Joaquín had 11 children including nine boys, Julio had three daughters. While the girls were interested in design and fashion, the boys were keen to create satellite ventures around the core brand. When one of the co-founders died, a family dispute erupted over whether the dividends should be plowed back into the business or distributed to the shareholders. A mediator obliged the warring branches to reach a settlement that would allow Leonisa to survive. The ousted sisters eventually had their own success story by launching a new business based on their core competencies.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case offers an opportunity to learn from a family-run company that survived a succession crisis, requiring students to think about family differences from a shareholder point of view, and the role of mediators in saving warring family branches from destroying the firm. It underlines the need for co-founders whose families have different interests to have a long-term plan to prevent a clash of clans. In this instance, one branch got out of the original business and constructed a new business based on their fashion and design skills. Students of family business in Colombia and Latin America will learn lessons from a family dispute that was ultimately resolved.

Keywords:
Leonisa, Ellipse, Urrea, Women’s Underwear, Lingerie, Colombia, Brassieres, Ana Patricia Urrea, Urrea Jiménez, Urrea Arbeláez, Fernando Urrea, Carlos Ignacio Urrea, Julio Urrea Jiménez

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published: 29 May 2017

  • Topic: Family Business
  • Industry: Apparel
  • Region: South America

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Abstract:
A well-known lingerie retailer in Colombia, Leonisa is a family-owned company that barely survived a second-generation succession crisis. Brothers Joaquín and Julio Ernesto Urrea founded the firm in 1956, and over 50 years built one of the most recognizable brands in Latin America. While they each had an equal stake in the company, their respective families were not of equal size: Joaquín had 11 children including nine boys, Julio had three daughters. While the girls were interested in design and fashion, the boys were keen to create satellite ventures around the core brand. When one of the co-founders died, a family dispute erupted over whether the dividends should be plowed back into the business or distributed to the shareholders. A mediator obliged the warring branches to reach a settlement that would allow Leonisa to survive. The ousted sisters eventually had their own success story by launching a new business based on their core competencies.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case offers an opportunity to learn from a family-run company that survived a succession crisis, requiring students to think about family differences from a shareholder point of view, and the role of mediators in saving warring family branches from destroying the firm. It underlines the need for co-founders whose families have different interests to have a long-term plan to prevent a clash of clans. In this instance, one branch got out of the original business and constructed a new business based on their fashion and design skills. Students of family business in Colombia and Latin America will learn lessons from a family dispute that was ultimately resolved.

Keywords:
Leonisa, Ellipse, Urrea, Women’s Underwear, Lingerie, Colombia, Brassieres, Ana Patricia Urrea, Urrea Jiménez, Urrea Arbeláez, Fernando Urrea, Carlos Ignacio Urrea, Julio Urrea Jiménez, Wicfe, Succession, Next Generation, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership

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published: 25 Apr 2017

  • Topic: Family Business
  • Industry: Papers and Allied Products
  • Region: South America

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Abstract:
Carvajal traces the 110-year history of one of Colombian’s oldest family-owned firms from a small print shop to one of the largest paper product conglomerates in Latin America. Founded in 1904 by Manuel Carvajal, a Colombian educator and erstwhile politician, the company has contributed to Colombia’s economic and intellectual development ever since. By the 1950s Carvajal was the leading printer and publishing house in Latin America. Although the company benefitted from state protection, a tradition of technical innovation was established – in 1958 it printed the first telephone directory for Bogotá on two-sheet offset press – and thereafter expanded into neighboring countries, diversifying into inter-linked activities. Throughout the 20th century the firm was led by descendants of the founder. In the 21st century, a non-family CEO was hired for the first time.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This strategy-making exercise for a family-run company that has reached a turning point in its 110-year-old history requires students to think about how ‘family assets’ can contribute to the firm during the 21st century. While family firms in Colombia are often associated with conflict and failure, here the challenge is to examine the role of professional management as a force for change. Students also need to consider why many Carvajal next gens have positioned themselves as potential leaders, with skills honed at top international business schools and a deep understanding of the family enterprise. Beyond the leadership issue, discussion can encompass the vision of the Carvajal family as the company expands beyond Latin America. Students of family business in the region will find many lessons to be learned from this exceptional firm and family, and their commitment to its survival.

Keywords:
Carvajal, Carvajal Empaques, Colombian Family Business, Grupo Norma, Publicar, Carpack, Assenda, Propal, Bernardo Quintero Balcázar, Pedro Carvajal, Ricardo Obregón Trujillo, Eugenio Castro Carvajal, Alfredo Carvajal Sinisterra, Adolfo Carvajal Quelquejeu, Wicfe, Succession, Next Generation, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Governance, Parallel Planning, Strategy, Boards

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published: 25 Apr 2017

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Abstract:
The case investigates the role of creative directors in the luxury fashion industry. When in October 2015 Raf Simons quit Christian Dior, industry observers wondered why anyone would voluntarily walk away from such an esteemed fashion house, and who would replace him. Beneath the glamorous veneer, the luxury and fashion industry puts tremendous stress on creative directors. Some crack up (John Galliano), other commit suicide (Alexander McQueen), and many launch proprietary labels.!
Please visit the dedicated case website.

Pedagogical Objectives:
After reading and analysing the case, students will be able to
(i) evaluate the role played by creative directors in a luxury fashion house;
(ii) understand the economics of the business and how haute couture drives profitability down and across associated business lines such as ready-to-wear and accessories;
(iii) learn about the growing influence of fast fashion and e-commerce on the fashion calendar that creative directors are expected to live.

Keywords:
Raf Simons, John Galliano, Bernard Arnault, Alexander Mcqueen, Christian Dior, Haute Couture, Creative Director, Luxury Fashion

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published: 25 Apr 2017

  • Topic: Family Business
  • Industry: Transportation services
  • Region: South America

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Abstract:
One of the biggest logistics services providers in Colombia, Servientrega started out as a one-man courier operation on the streets of Bogota in 1982. Jesus Guerrero, an enterprising messenger boy, set up his own delivery service at the age of 18. After attracting more clients than he could handle, he persuaded his sister Luz Mary to join the company and invest her savings in exchange for half of the shares. Before long, Servientrega was growing so fast that they employed other siblings. Jesus gave one brother a 5% share in the business, expecting his sister to do the same. However, she held on to her 50% and used her majority shareholder position to take over, forcing her brother out of the CEO job. Jesus began acquiring new logistics operations that he consolidated into the Guerrero Group, which today has 39 subsidiaries (including Servientrega) and employs 28,500 people. The lawsuits that plagued the former partners and put their venture at risk ultimately prompted Jesus to launch a competitor to Servientrega, RedServi.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case offers an opportunity to learn from a family-owned company whose principal shareholders got into a dispute with dramatic consequences for their business. A minor dispute between brother and sister over a 5% shareholding led to a series of lawsuits that put the family-owned firm at risk. Students will be challenged to explain why the brother decided to start a new company to compete with the original company that he founded years earlier. The case illustrates how family conflicts can have unexpected results, such as the formation of a rival business.

Keywords:
Luz Mary Guerrero, Jesus Guerrero, Servientrega, Logistics, Colombia, Bogota, Efecty, Redservi, Latin America, Supply Chain, Warehouse, Courier, Transport, Guerrero Group, Wicfe, Fair Process, Communication, Psychology, Gender

Related:

published: 29 Mar 2017

  • Topic: Family Business
  • Industry: Papers and Allied Products
  • Region: South America

Show details ...

Abstract:
Carvajal traces the 110-year history of one of Colombian’s oldest family-owned firms from a small print shop to one of the largest paper product conglomerates in Latin America. Founded in 1904 by Manuel Carvajal, a Colombian educator and erstwhile politician, the company has contributed to Colombia’s economic and intellectual development ever since. By the 1950s Carvajal was the leading printer and publishing house in Latin America. Although the company benefitted from state protection, a tradition of technical innovation was established – in 1958 it printed the first telephone directory for Bogotá on two-sheet offset press – and thereafter expanded into neighboring countries, diversifying into inter-linked activities. Throughout the 20th century the firm was led by descendants of the founder. In the 21st century, a non-family CEO was hired for the first time.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This strategy-making exercise for a family-run company that has reached a turning point in its 110-year-old history requires students to think about how ‘family assets’ can contribute to the firm during the 21st century. While family firms in Colombia are often associated with conflict and failure, here the challenge is to examine the role of professional management as a force for change. Students also need to consider why many Carvajal next gens have positioned themselves as potential leaders, with skills honed at top international business schools and a deep understanding of the family enterprise. Beyond the leadership issue, discussion can encompass the vision of the Carvajal family as the company expands beyond Latin America. Students of family business in the region will find many lessons to be learned from this exceptional firm and family, and their commitment to its survival.

Keywords:
Carvajal, Carvajal Empaques, Colombian Family Business, Grupo Norma, Publicar, Carpack, Assenda, Propal, Bernardo Quintero Balcázar, Pedro Carvajal, Ricardo Obregón Trujillo, Eugenio Castro Carvajal, Alfredo Carvajal Sinisterra, Adolfo Carvajal Quelquejeu, Wicfe, Succession, Next Generation, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Governance, Parallel Planning, Strategy, Boards

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published: 29 Mar 2017

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Abstract:
This case illustrates the key role played by a local distributor in the luxury goods industry in the Middle East. By partnering with the Chalhoub Group, western firms have built a competitive advantage across the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). While not typical of western luxury brands selling to global markets other than the Middle East, their alliances with the Chalhoub Group offer access to a vast network of 650 stores in prime locations in the GCC, many in new shopping malls. Chalhoub has retail outlets in 14 countries in the MENA region. Since its establishment in 1955, the Dubai-based Chalhoub has developed partnerships with Christian Dior, Sephora, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and many others. In so doing it has laid the foundations for the creation of own-concept stores, where it sells its own branded products.
Please visit the dedicated case website to access supplementary material.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case can be taught in executive education and elective MBA courses in luxury management. The focus is on the marketing and distribution of personal luxury goods in the Middle East, a region that outperformed the global luxury market until the collapse of oil prices in 2014. The case examines consumer characteristics in the Middle East, the unique business model of the Chalhoub organization, which employs over 12,000 people in the region – including Saudi Arabia where women play a surprisingly big role in its workforce – and its investment in employee training to a degree rarely seen among retail distributors in the West.

Keywords:
Chalhoub, Beauty, Fashion, Ghawali, Level Kids, Katakeet, Wajooh, Level Shoes, Tanagra, Gcc, Wassim Eid, Fadi Jabbour, Tdesign

published: 29 Mar 2017

  • Topic: Family Business
  • Industry: Transportation services
  • Region: South America

Show details ...

Abstract:
One of the biggest logistics services providers in Colombia, Servientrega started out as a one-man courier operation on the streets of Bogota in 1982. Jesus Guerrero, an enterprising messenger boy, set up his own delivery service at the age of 18. After attracting more clients than he could handle, he persuaded his sister Luz Mary to join the company and invest her savings in exchange for half of the shares. Before long, Servientrega was growing so fast that they employed other siblings. Jesus gave one brother a 5% share in the business, expecting his sister to do the same. However, she held on to her 50% and used her majority shareholder position to take over, forcing her brother out of the CEO job. Jesus began acquiring new logistics operations that he consolidated into the Guerrero Group, which today has 39 subsidiaries (including Servientrega) and employs 28,500 people. The lawsuits that plagued the former partners and put their venture at risk ultimately prompted Jesus to launch a competitor to Servientrega, RedServi.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case offers an opportunity to learn from a family-owned company whose principal shareholders got into a dispute with dramatic consequences for their business. A minor dispute between brother and sister over a 5% shareholding led to a series of lawsuits that put the family-owned firm at risk. Students will be challenged to explain why the brother decided to start a new company to compete with the original company that he founded years earlier. The case illustrates how family conflicts can have unexpected results, such as the formation of a rival business.

Keywords:
Luz Mary Guerrero, Jesus Guerrero, Servientrega, Logistics, Colombia, Bogota, Efecty, Redservi, Latin America, Supply Chain, Warehouse, Courier, Transport, Guerrero Group, Wicfe, Fair Process, Communication, Psychology, Gender

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