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Published by: University of St Gallen
Published in: 2021
Length: 17 pages
Data source: Field research

Abstract

Gisbert Ruhl, the Chief Executive Officer of Klockner & Co, one of the world's largest producer-independent steel and metal distributors, led the company through a decade-long transformation process from antiquated steel distributer to digital pioneer. The transformation of KCO included the creation of the venture XOM Materials, a business- to-business materials trading platform, with the vision of becoming 'the Amazon of the steel trade'. However, despite the company's grand efforts at digitalization, no significant performance impact is visible as of May 2021. Revenues and profits went down, and the share price dropped by 20%, from EUR13.49 on 2nd November 2009 to EUR10.91 on 12th May 2021. The case opens in May 2021 after the annual meeting. Following his stepdown as CEO, Ruhl asks: Was the digital transformation of KCO under his leadership a success? For whom (eg, stakeholders), if at all, did the decade-long transformation create value?

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education courses.

Time period

The events covered by this case took place in May 2021.

Geographical setting

Region:
Europe
Country:
Germany
Locations:
Duisburg; Berlin

Featured company

Klöckner & Co SE
Employees:
5001-10000
Turnover:
EUR 5,130 million
Type:
Public company
Industry:
Steel and metal distribution

Featured protagonist

  • Gisbert Ruhl (male), CEO

About

Abstract

Gisbert Ruhl, the Chief Executive Officer of Klockner & Co, one of the world's largest producer-independent steel and metal distributors, led the company through a decade-long transformation process from antiquated steel distributer to digital pioneer. The transformation of KCO included the creation of the venture XOM Materials, a business- to-business materials trading platform, with the vision of becoming 'the Amazon of the steel trade'. However, despite the company's grand efforts at digitalization, no significant performance impact is visible as of May 2021. Revenues and profits went down, and the share price dropped by 20%, from EUR13.49 on 2nd November 2009 to EUR10.91 on 12th May 2021. The case opens in May 2021 after the annual meeting. Following his stepdown as CEO, Ruhl asks: Was the digital transformation of KCO under his leadership a success? For whom (eg, stakeholders), if at all, did the decade-long transformation create value?

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education courses.

Settings

Time period

The events covered by this case took place in May 2021.

Geographical setting

Region:
Europe
Country:
Germany
Locations:
Duisburg; Berlin

Featured company

Klöckner & Co SE
Employees:
5001-10000
Turnover:
EUR 5,130 million
Type:
Public company
Industry:
Steel and metal distribution

Featured protagonist

  • Gisbert Ruhl (male), CEO

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