Case | HBS Case Collection | December 2009 (Revised January 2010)

Managing Talent at Bertelsmann AG (A)

by Boris Groysberg, Nitin Nohria, Mark Maletz and Kerry Herman


Bertelsmann's EVP HR Immanuel Hermreck and his team were focused on four key HR issues. Three of these were somewhat discreet: improving Bertelsmann's employer brand; managing Bertelsmann talent across the firm's decentralized businesses; and ensuring early identification and appropriate development of Bertelsmann's top 100 high potential managers (hi-pos) to better seed the company's future top management. The fourth issue—recruitment and retention—played an integral role across all three challenges and had to be strengthened and made consistent across the firm, not an easy prospect given Bertelsmann's highly decentralized structure. Hermreck knew navigating these issues would pose significant challenges, but getting them right was critical to Bertelsmann's competitive advantage and survival as a robust media company. He had some good results in from his early efforts, but as he looked forward, what should his action plan set out to do?

Keywords: Talent and Talent Management; Recruitment; Retention; Selection and Staffing; Leadership Development; Strategic Planning; Competitive Advantage; Media and Broadcasting Industry; Germany;


Groysberg, Boris, Nitin Nohria, Mark Maletz, and Kerry Herman. "Managing Talent at Bertelsmann AG (A)." Harvard Business School Case 410-010, December 2009. (Revised January 2010.)