Case | HBS Case Collection | November 1996

Del Webb Corporation (B), The

by Jay W. Lorsch and Samanta Graff

Abstract

On November 16, 1987, the Del Webb board appointed Phil Dion chairman and CEO. This case outlines the development and implementation of a strategy to focus exclusively on real estate development and to liquidate all other assets. Discusses the appointment of two new board members to fill the slots vacated by the directors who followed Swanson out the door. Proceeds to describe the activities of two investors: Ronald Brierly of Industrial Equity Pacific and James Cotter of Webcott Holdings. Independently of one another, these investors had each purchased over 9% of Del Webb stock at a premium just before the stock price plummeted in the fall of 1987. These investors laid low for over a year, waiting to see if the descent in the stock price had been a temporary blip or a sustaining trend. When they concluded it was the latter, each investor approached Dion with the request that he be allowed to put a representative on the Del Webb board.

Keywords: Crisis Management; Management Succession; Strategic Planning; Governing and Advisory Boards; Business and Shareholder Relations; Conflict of Interests; Real Estate Industry;

Citation:

Lorsch, Jay W., and Samanta Graff. "Del Webb Corporation (B), The." Harvard Business School Case 497-017, November 1996.