INSEAD the business school for the world

Selected Case

published: 24 Mar 2014

Vendex KBB is at crisis point at the end of 2004, especially its flagship V&D department stores. A consortium of private-equity investors led by KKR, who bought the business a year earlier, persuade retail veteran Tony DeNunzio to take on the challenge of turning the diversified holding company around. Reluctant at first, he agrees, but only for three years and thereafter for 18 months part time. His mandate is clear: to turn around the iconic Dutch business by adding value to all stakeholders, not just the PE firm, a mission made more difficult by the reputation PE firms have recently acquired as 'barbarians at the gate'. About to embark on his first 100 days, what should he do on his first day?

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case and films demonstrate how good leadership in a crisis, together with a clear turnaround plan, can save an ailing company. They underline the importance of the first 100 days after taking over. Difficult decisions need to be taken for the future of the company, but in the end they pay off, and communication with all stakeholders is key. The case can be used to illustrate that it can be easier to turn around a company under private ownership with a strong financial focus, and that PE takeovers can be less about “milking the cow” than adding value for all stakeholders, not just investors.

Turnaround, Crisis Management, Private Equity, Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Retail, Corporate Governance, Value Creation, Strategy and Implementation, European Competitiveness, Europe, Gpei, Gpei-Case