Digital Island, Inc. (A): In Transition

By Andrea Higuera, Charles Holloway, John Morgridge, Dan Thomas
2002 | Case No. E123A
This case is the first of two written about Digital Island, Inc., which was founded by Ron Higgins in January 1997, in Honolulu, Hawaii. The company started by offering global Internet Protocol (IP) networking services for applications to help companies address the slow and unreliable nature of the public Internet and to provide them with a cost-effective alternative to building their own WANs. At the beginning of 1997, the company officially launched when it announced Cisco Systems, Inc. as its first customer. Following its launch, Digital Island landed several new high profile clients throughout 1997. Given the company’s success and the growing demand for its services, the board of directors, in concert with Ron Higgins, decided that in order to build and grow the company, they needed to bring in a new CEO. In June 1998, Ruann Ernst joined Digital Island as the new CEO and president. This case provides an overview of the search process for identifying and selecting Ruann Ernst as the new CEO and president. The case ends as Ruann prepares to take over the company. This case may be taught as a stand-alone case or may also be taught in conjunction with Digital Island, Inc. (B): Managing the Wild Ride, which chronicles the history of Digital Island from June 1998 through May 2001.
This material is designated for use in specific Stanford GSB classes only. For inquiries, contact the Case Writing Office.