Chemrad Corporation: President and CEO Search

By Hayagreeva Rao, Thomas J Friel
2010 | Case No. HR36
As one of the world’s largest producers of industrial electronics components, Chemrad Corporation generated annual sales in excess of $1 billion. A public company listed on the NYSE, Chemrad had been a favorite of analysts for two decades for its strong and virtually uninterrupted record of profitable growth. Chemrad’s charismatic founder and chief scientist retired as CEO in 2008. He was replaced by Robert Samson, a career Chemrad executive, himself approaching retirement age. Samson’s appointment was seen as interim, allowing the company time to assess the capability of several younger division managers who were running the business units. The board of directors anticipated choosing the next CEO from this group of executives within two to three years. A number of events transpired, however, that changed this plan. The performance of several of the businesses faltered, growth slowed, and orders for product were slow to materialize. Samson was not able to lead the company to new R&D success while the stock price faltered to all-time lows. Increasingly under pressure from shareholders, analysts, and the media, the board determined that new, more aggressive leadership for the company was required. Several months prior to this determination, the board of directors had made the decision to look outside for a new CEO. The board was about to select the new CEO from a pool of four candidates: one internal and three external. While this case reflects actual events that occurred in a real-world company, the name of the business and the identities of its management team, employees, and candidates have been disguised for the purposes of confidentiality.
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