38 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008
This case is an in-basket exercise. Sarah Conner has just assumed control of Astral, a successful compact-disc manufacturer with some looming problems. Previously run by an autocratic manager, Astral is paralyzed following Sir Maxwell S. Hammer's death. Sarah Conner must work through a stack of messages, memos, and faxes, and decide where to begin and what to do.
ASTRAL RECORDS, LTD., NORTH AMERICA
The date was August 24, 1993, and Sarah Conner felt overwhelmed and more than a little disoriented. Only two days ago, she had rushed from her office at Bendini, Lambert & Locke (BLL), a well-known venture capital firm, to board the company jet for Knoxville, Tennessee, where she would assume operating control of Astral Records, Ltd., North America (Astral, N.A.). One week earlier, Astral, N.A.'s president and chief executive officer, Sir Maxwell S. Hammer, had been killed in a tragic hunting accident. As the owner of 60% of the company, BLL had felt an immediate need to protect its investment. Accordingly, BLL's managing director, T.J. Lambert, had asked Conner to run the company, while the firm planned its next moves. He had assured Conner that she would be in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, for at least a year.
Conner was the obvious choice for the appointment. After graduating from Wellesley College in 1982 with a degree in classical music, she had gone to work for Galaxy Records, first in marketing and later in production. In 1987, she was admitted to the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia, where she was president of the Entrepreneurs club, a Shermet scholar, and, upon graduation, a recipient of a faculty award for academic excellence. Hoping to combine her love of music with her business acumen, she joined BLL as assistant manager of its entertainment portfolio. That BLL was acquiring new music-industry companies made it the perfect first choice among her several job offers.
Conner had progressed quickly during her four years at BLL. Nevertheless, she was rather surprised at how quickly she had been asked to assume operating control of one of the fastest-growing compact disc (CD) manufacturers in the world. In two weeks, she was scheduled to meet with BLL's principals. They wanted a status report, a set of recommendations, and an action plan for the next year. She knew that a number of important issues were likely to need her attention in the wake of Sir Maxwell's death.
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Keywords: capital budgeting, conflict management, ethical issues, general management, diverse protagonist, female, marketing planning, organizational change, personnel management, diversity case, women in business
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Isabella, Lynn and Forbes, Ted, Astral Records Ltd., North America. Darden Case No. UVA-OB-0443. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=910414
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