The Case Centre’s top 40 bestselling cases

Eleventh place - Charlotte Beers at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide
The case
Case: Charlotte Beers at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide Charlotte Beers at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide
Authors: Herminia Ibarra and Nicole Sackley
Institution: Harvard Business School
Ref: 9-495-031
Date published: 1995

Charlotte Beers took over leadership of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, the world's sixth largest advertising agency, during a period of rapid industry change and organisational crisis. The business had been repeatedly described as ‘beleaguered’ in the press, and Beers saw her job as removing ‘beleaguered’ from the company’s name. This case focuses on how Beers, the first outsider chief executive officer, led her team through a vision formulation process. It traces the debates among senior executives who struggled to reconcile creative, strategic, and global versus local priorities. Sixteen months later, with a vision statement agreed, Beers faced a series of implementation problems: turnaround had begun, but organisational structures and systems were not yet in place to support the new way forward. Students have the chance to analyse and discuss what Beers should do next.

The authors

Herminia Ibarra is the Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, and Area Chair for the Organisational Behaviour Department at INSEAD

Nicole Sackley was a Research Assistant.

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