Case | HBS Case Collection | November 1998 (Revised December 1998)

Jeanne Lewis at Staples, Inc. (A)

by Linda A. Hill and Kristin Doughty


Jeanne Lewis, after six years with Staples, Inc., is promoted to senior vice president of marketing. She is to work for fifteen months alongside her predecessor, a legacy in the organization, "learning the ropes" before he moves on. This case is set nine months after she begins working with the marketing department. Staples has just emerged from a period of prolonged litigation around an FTC antitrust suit challenging Staples' attempted merger with Office Depot. Post-merger, Lewis must determine how the marketing department can most effectively and efficiently help the company maintain its competitive edge in an increasingly competitive and complex market. Looks at the challenges a middle manager faces "taking charge" and managing change in a revitalization situation in which a more evolutionary approach is appropriate.

Keywords: Organizational Change and Adaptation; Management Style; Change Management; Marketing Strategy; Management Succession; Competitive Advantage; Problems and Challenges; Management Teams; Retail Industry; United States;


Hill, Linda A., and Kristin Doughty. "Jeanne Lewis at Staples, Inc. (A)." Harvard Business School Case 499-041, November 1998. (Revised December 1998.)