Management Case20141031 Essay

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REV: APRIL 23, 2012


Pierre Frankel in Moscow (A): Unfreezing Change
In April 2007, Pierre Frankel – the Deputy Managing Director of Russia for H-IT, a global information technology company – reviewed résumés in search of a native Russian to help him lead the subsidiary’s turnaround. A French national, Frankel considered the fact that he was engaging in such an activity in his current office as a small but notable victory since arriving three months earlier.
Corporate executives had sent Frankel from the company’s headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland to
Moscow, Russia in January 2007 with the difficult task of turning around a top-priority subsidiary – while not holding the top position.
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and Indian companies. From 2003 to 2006, Frankel served as an executive assistant to the President of
Global Field Operations, and in late 2006 he was promoted to Vice President of Business Operations, reporting to the President of Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). At the time, EMEA operations were split into three regions – Southwest Europe, Northern Europe, and Central/Eastern Europe
(CEE). CEE was based in Zurich, Switzerland.
Shortly after taking the new role, the Managing Director of CEE asked Frankel to lead a strategic project to develop operations in Russia, an underperforming subsidiary which, despite vast market potential and technology talent, failed to meet revenue and profitability objectives. (See Exhibit 1.)
The H-IT Russia organization handled sales, marketing, distribution, and service for the country.
Most of its employees had technical backgrounds and there was some support staff. Frankel visited
Moscow several times in the fall of 2006 to craft the subsidiary’s business plan before presenting it to
EMEA and global executives. It was well received – so well, in fact, that it led to a new assignment.
In December 2006, a new EMEA President arrived. Russia remained a top priority, prompting the
Deputy MD of CEE to sell Frankel on the idea of leading an on-site growth project in Moscow.
Originally, Frankel was supposed to report to the Deputy MD of
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