CasesBhatnagar, Navneet. "The Survival Battle of the Deccan Chronicle", Sage Publications, 2020Read Description >Close >
This case discusses the growth and governance challenges of the Deccan Chronicle, a family-owned newspaper. The publication was established in 1938 as a partnership firm at Hyderabad, India. Due to high operating costs, the firm accumulated huge debt. In 1977, it was bought by a businessman, T. Chandrasekhar Reddy. Subsequently, his sons joined the business, modernized the printing machinery and launched multiple editions. By 2000, Deccan Chronicle became the tenth most circulated newspaper in India. In 2004, the partnership firm was converted into a public limited company - ‘Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited (DCHL) and made a public offer of shares. With this capital, the company expanded its newspaper business in south India. DCHL also made huge investments in several unrelated businesses. These businesses (viz. a bookstore chain, an air freight venture and a chartered flight service) seemed attractive but DCHL did not have the capabilities and experience in managing those businesses. Poor strategic decisions, extravagant lifestyle of the owner family members and financial mismanagement led the company to bankruptcy. One of its lenders, the Kolkata-based SREI Infrastructure Finance got its loan converted into equity and became the largest shareholder of DCHL. SREI had proposed a plan to take over the company and revive the business. The other creditors were to meet soon to decide the fate of DCHL.
 
Essentially, this case helps the instructor to make the participants understand the importance of family business governance and of calibrating family business growth aspirations with available resources and capabilities.



CasesBhatnagar, Navneet., Ramachandran, Kavil. "The Emami Mission to the Next Orbit", Sage Publications, 2020Read Description >Close >This case is about the challenges of professionalisation and succession faced by an Indian, family controlled, personal-care products company, Emami Limited. Emami was setup in 1974 at Kolkata by two childhood friends, Radhe Shyam Agarwal (RSA) and Radhe Shyam Goenka (RSG). They started with a small capital of INR 20,000 and had grown the business to INR 1.8 bn in sales by financial year 2013-14. Emami had earned a reputation for being innovative in development of products based on keen consumer insights. Ever since Emami tasted initial success in business (i.e. within 3-4 years of its inception), the company adopted an inorganic strategy for growth and made several strategic business acquisitions. As the business grew, it implemented organizational changes, brought in functional experts from outside and professionalised its operations.

During the first four decades since it was founded, Emami grew its product portfolio to include ayurvedic formulations and nutraceuticals. Besides, the group diversified in other businesses such as paper, real estate and construction. However, Emami Limited, the personal care company continued to be the group’s flagship that generated most of its wealth. Business growth increased the complexities of Emami’s operations. In order to manage those complexities Emami made efforts to professionalise their systems and processes.

However, as the founders grew older, they had realized the need for succession planning to pass on the leadership to the next generation. They were also cognizant of the need to establish family governance mechanisms and structures to ensure Emami’s sustainability across generations. Another key challenge they faced was how and whom to select as their successor because their children had been brought up together, had similar educational qualifications, business experience and performance record. It was quite hard for them to pick one member over the other.

CasesRamachandran, Kavil., Bang, Nupur Pavan. "Hilti - Leadership and Ownership Transition in a Culture - Rich Company", Harvard Business Publishing, 2019Read Description >Close >The Hilti Corporation was founded by Martin Hilti in 1941 in Liechtenstein, Germany. Take from case on product -market and performance From its inception, Hilti set the highest standards of peoples’ practices, innovation, quality and governance. The values of the company; Team, Commitment, Integrity and Courage, defined by Martin, remained unchanged over the years, even though the company leadership transitioned from Martin to his son Michael to the non-family Chairman Baschera and later Fisher. Continuity was given a lot of importance at Hilti. In 2017, the family trust and the board of directors of the Hilti corporation, both had non-family leaders. Michael Hilti, the Lifetime Honorary Chairman of the Board of Directors, was happy that the transition of leadership had happened smoothly and as planned. He was keen to identify and correct possible areas of weaknesses existing or that might emerge in future. He knew that he didn’t have a long time to further institutionalize the family and business. He also wanted to create another trust in a different location to protect the trust and wealth from geo-political crisis like a war or changes in taxation rules.

CasesBhatnagar, Navneet., Ramachandran, Kavil. "Touchdown Footwear on Slippery Slope", Harvard Publishing, 2018Read Description >Close >This case is based on the professionalization and governance challenges faced by Touchdown Footwear Limited (TFL) – an Indian mid-sized footwear manufacturing family business. It was setup in1965 by three brothers, Ramnath, Krishna and Ganesh Pai who had inherited their father’s rubber trading business. Initially, TFL made flip flop slippers and catered to the local market. Over the years, TFL had a larger product portfolio, and by 2013, they had a pan-India presence with some exports to African markets. In the early years, the three brothers managed all functions. As the next generation grew up, they started joining the firm and took up different roles often based on business exigencies. By 2013, TFL had a turnover of 6.23 INR, but lacked a clear strategy and professional management. In the absence of appropriate structure, systems and processes, decision-making was ad-hoc. Inefficiencies and wastages were evident all across, and working capital was under severe strain. The firm suffered from governance deficit at both family and business levels. Lack of clear policies and processes delayed many crucial decisions. Earlier attempts to professionalize the business failed to achieve the desired results as family members neither had clear policies nor could change their mindset. Besides, there were questions about the level of commitment and discipline of the next generation. Vivek, the case protagonist, who managed TFL’s finances, realized the need for a transitional change on multiple fronts to sustain the business but was unclear about roadmap.

CasesBang, Nupur Pavan., Ramachandran, Kavil. "Dodla's Dilemma", Harvard Publishing, 2018Read Description >Close >D. Sunil Reddy established Dodla Dairy in the year 1995 at Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, as a greenfield company. An industrial engineer from Mangalore University, Sunil started Dodla Dairy at the age of 27, with the seed money given by his father. He would often wonder if the brand ‘Dodla’ and the Company sustain beyond ‘Sunil Dodla’. While Sunil continues to put in efforts to increase capacity, expand and capture more market share, he keeps asking himself, “What next”, “How do I build a legacy?” If the company had to move to the next orbit, both in term of size (revenues, assets, market share) as well as professionalization, certain organizational changes were necessary. “What were these changes and who would do it?” How could Sunil better prepare himself and the company for the future? How would the company move from being a family owned enterprise to a professionally run, sustainable organization? Would one of his daughters bring about that freshness by joining the company and yet provide continuity in terms of the family values? Would it be an outsider? “Who after me?” thought Sunil. After two decades, a certain degree of fatigue was beginning to set in and he had been contemplating his own role in the company. The days when he was under pressure or had a bad day, he would think of selling off the company, take the money and live peacefully ever after. On the other days, he would think of building a sustainable organization and leaving a legacy!

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