Manutech Corporation: President and Chief Operating Officer Search

By Hayagreeva Rao, Thomas Friel
2010 | Case No. HR37
Manutech Corporation was a global manufacturing company focused primarily on contract manufacturing for many of the world’s leading computer industry original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Manutech, founded in the late 1970s, operated manufacturing facilities located throughout the world. The firm had become one of a handful of leading contract manufacturing companies worldwide, with revenues for fiscal year 2009 exceeding $10 billion. The history of Manutech is the story of two longtime friends and collaborators, William Johnson and James Allen. Having worked together for many years at Texas Instruments and Intel, they cofounded Manutech and headed it from its inception. In 2005, Allen took over both positions and drove the company to ever-increasing revenue levels. Over time, Allen concentrated most of the executive power and decision making into his own hands, supported by a small team of close associates. The board of directors, mostly former colleagues of Johnson and Allen, were generally content to follow this lead. Despite continued success and growth, the company eventually found itself coming under increasing pressure from both domestic and foreign competitors. Manutech, particularly its CEO, came under criticism for being unable to react quickly and for not paying enough attention to Manutech’s changing customer base. The board began to take a more forceful role and concluded that some of the firm’s difficulties were likely due to a management team that was largely dominated by one man. Despite enormous respect for Allen, the board decided that some kind of leadership change was necessary. It was about to select a president and chief operating officer, reporting to the CEO, from a pool of three external candidates. 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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