DKSH in 2011

By Robert Burgelman, Martina Ludescher
2012 | Case No. SM204
The case describes the history and transformation of DKSH, a privately-held global trading company headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, that has been doing business in the Far East for some 150 years. The case focuses on the efforts of CEO Joerg Wolle since 1999 to bring together several independent family-owned Swiss-based trading houses under one corporate roof and to transform successful but steady old-fashioned trading houses into a new type of company specializing in “Market Expansion Services.” This novel Market Expansion Services company works with global “clients” (e.g. major pharmaceutical companies) to help them get access to and accelerate growth in different Asian markets and with “customers” (e.g., Asian distributors and retailers) to provide them with access to the goods and services from the global clients. To effectively achieve this corporate transformation, Wolle worked with several other senior executives to create integrated IT, logistics, and market intelligence capabilities. The case focuses on the growth strategy and associated challenges, mostly people and leadership related, to bring DKSH to the next level of profitable growth.
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