A New CEO's Problems

By H. Irving Grousbeck
2022 | Case No. E806 | Length 1 pgs.

A female GSB graduate assumed the role of CEO of a SaaS company operating at slightly above breakeven. Three weeks into the role, she had built trust with the VP of operations, but she had not been well received by her two other direct reports who were VPs of Technology and Sales and Marketing.

In this vignette, these two managers asked to meet the CEO and demanded salary increases, which they claim had been promised to them by the company’s previous owners. They also expressed misgivings about the VP of Operations and refused to comply with a request the CEO had made earlier last week. The vignette ends with the CEO getting ready to plan her conversation with the two managers.

Learning Objective

This case is designed to help students develop a perspective on the challenges that new CEOs face when joining established organizations. In this vignette, students will be asked to map out their talking points for the conversation with the two mid-level managers with the goal of helping to come to a solution for them to work together. This vignette focuses on the preparation for and execution of role-played dialogue as well as on postmortem analysis.
This material is available for download by current Stanford GSB students, faculty, and staff, as well as Stanford GSB alumni. For inquires, contact the Case Writing Office. Download