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Welcome to our support website for the business case “Vendex KBB: first hundred days in crisis”.

Click here to read an inspection copy of the case and the spreadsheet with consolidated financial statements.



Executive Summary

The case describes the dilemma that Vendex KBB faces at the end of 2004. A consortium of private equity investors had bought out this diversified holding company earlier that year. However, Vendex KBB is reaching crisis point in particular its flagship business, the V&D department stores. The Private Equity team need to recruit a new CEO to turn the company around. They finally persuade retail veteran Tony DeNunzio to take the job he agrees that it will be for just three years and after 18 months he will work part time. Although not ideal the PE team have no choice Tony is the right man for the task. Tony’s mandate is clear: to turnaround the company and add value for all the stakeholders not just the PE company. His mission is tricky given he is dealing with iconic brands in The Netherlands and the reputation private equity companies had acquired in recent years – barbarians at the gate and locusts to name but a few. Case A ends with Tony about to embark on his first 100 days.


The short series of films should be used in conjunction with the teaching note. 

The protagonist Tony DeNunzio describes his first hundred days in detail and includes his handwritten plan that he drew up for these first days. He has five main tasks within this time frame: assess the management; understand all the different businesses; set short term plans to create value for each company; develop long term stratgey plans to create value for all formats. Finally, and perhaps the most challenging is to change the culture. The latter he is aware will not be done overnight.

Tony describes the measures he took to turn the company around gaining respect from all the stakeholders whilst adding value throughout the different formats. He rebrands the company to Maxeda with a new mission: a passion to serve. The company had been voted worst place in the past is now winning awards for best employer in The Netherlands.

The case and films demonstrate how good leadership in a crisis situation together with a clear turnaround plan can save an ailing company. It shows how communication is key with all stakeholders. From a turnaround point of view the case can be used to illustrate that it is easier to turnaround a company under private owners with a strong financial focus. It also shows that private equity takeovers are not about “milking cows” but can add real value for all stakeholders not just the investors. Finally it shows just how important the first hundred days of a company in crisis are for controlling the situation.


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 is when taking over a company. Difficult decisions need to be taken for the future of the company but in the end they pay off. 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 owners with a strong financial focus, and that PE takeovers can be less about “milking the cow” than adding value for all stakeholders, not just the investors.


Target Audience

The case has been taught many times in MBA classes on Managing Corporate Turnarounds. It can also be used in courses that deal with issues of responsible leadership and the role of private equity in turning around companies – at MBA, EMBA, executive and undergraduate level.

This case was developed with the support of the Entrepreneurship Teaching Innovation Fund, created by alumni Timothy Bovard and Andy Phillipps at INSEAD.


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