Case | HBS Case Collection | January 1998 (Revised May 1999)

General Scanning, Inc. (B)

by H. Kent Bowen, Sean McClenaghan and Charles Tillen


After meeting with a mediator, Montagu and Davis decided their goals were not in accordance, and Davis left General Scanning. Montagu and Brosens wrote three-year objectives for the company and proceeded to search for a new professional manager. Chuck Winston took on the role of CEO/president with the goals of growth, profitability, consistency, and solid management. Winston decentralized the company by forming four separate divisions: Recorder Products, Laser Systems, Optical Scanning, and Laser Graphics. By the end of 1994, General Scanning was worth over $76 million, was showing a profit with a strong balance sheet, and had over 1,000 customers. Having turned around the company and grown it threefold, Winston and the founders need to decide what to do next: merge, acquire, do an IPO, or spinoff the successful Laser Systems division. There remained the haunting issue that most of the stock was held by the two founders. The case discussion challenges students to deal with the core problem of managing this technology company--that is, formally changing the roles of the founders by changing the ownership and board of directors.

Keywords: Business Units; Restructuring; Change; Business or Company Management; Ownership Stake; Strategic Planning; Hardware;


Bowen, H. Kent, Sean McClenaghan, and Charles Tillen. "General Scanning, Inc. (B)." Harvard Business School Case 698-037, January 1998. (Revised May 1999.)