Case | HBS Case Collection | November 1993 (Revised October 1995)

Rudi Gassner and the Executive Committee of BMG International (A)

by Linda A. Hill


Explores the roles of CEO Rudi Gassner and the 9-person executive committee in leading BMG International. BMG International is the international music subsidiary of Bertlesmann, a German company that is the second-largest media conglomerate in the world. Describes a 1993 decision that Gassner and the executive committee must make about whether or not to change managers' business plans and bonus targets as a result of a newly negotiate reduced manufacturing cost. Allows for discussion of a number of timely and important issues: 1) the complexities of managing and growing a large global business; 2) the tensions between centralized corporate control and decentralized local management in a global organization; 3) the impact of leadership style on corporate culture and performance; 4) the challenges of leading a senior mangement team; and 5) the final decision by CEO Rudi Gassner and the subsequent actions taken by the members of the executive committee.

Keywords: Managerial Roles; Management Teams; Decision Making; Business Plan; Growth and Development Strategy; Global Strategy; Leadership Style; Organizational Culture; Business Subsidiaries; Business Conglomerates; Cost Management; Change Management; Music Industry; Media and Broadcasting Industry; Germany;


Hill, Linda A. "Rudi Gassner and the Executive Committee of BMG International (A)." Harvard Business School Case 494-055, November 1993. (Revised October 1995.)