Leading Change at Ppf Corporation (a)

6 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2009

See all articles by Jeanne Liedtka

Jeanne Liedtka

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business


The A case begins with the arrival of a new leader at a troubled firm. Faced with a myriad of issues about both the leadership and the strategy of the organization, Stephen Oswald must prioritize what to tackle and how. See also the B case (UVA-BP-0499).



Sept. 12, 2008


April 1, 2002, was Stephen Oswald's first day as president of PPF Corporation, a worldwide manufacturer of industrial products that was a subsidiary of MAYCO, a division of Alco, a global diversified corporation. New to PPF, Oswald had never before been responsible for the overall growth and direction of an entire organization. He was happy to have the position, but had several concerns.

PPF's sales, cash flow, and earnings before taxes were all in decline, primarily because of the poor economy after September 11, 2001, and a downturn in the overall business cycle, which began in 2000 (Exhibit 1). There had also been market-share challenges over the past several years in the North American industrial segment (which drove a good percentage of the profitable aftermarket sales) as competition from European manufacturers toughened. In addition, PPF's product lines needed to be upgraded and relationships with its North American distributors were about to become strained in certain areas.

Internally, problems existed as well. An employee-satisfaction survey recently conducted by Alco had produced only average results, with an overall satisfaction score at PPF of 54% (Exhibit 2). Relations between management and hourly employees were also beginning to fray, owing to both a change in work hours (from a scheduled four-day to a five-day workweek) and a new skill-based pay plan that was not working effectively. Management communications were also in need of improvement, and the position of president had been vacant since December 2001. On the positive side, Oswald had inherited a seasoned, experienced, and committed management team.

. . .

Keywords: leadership, organizational transformation

Suggested Citation

Liedtka, Jeanne, Leading Change at Ppf Corporation (a). Darden Case No. UVA-BP-0498, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1416543

Jeanne Liedtka (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
804-924-1404 (Phone)
804-924-6378 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/liedtka.htm

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