Case | HBS Case Collection | May 2010 (Revised May 2011)

Kent Thiry: "Mayor" of DaVita

by William W. George and Natalie Kindred


Kent Thiry, CEO of dialysis provider DaVita, is considering how to integrate employees from recently acquired Gambro Healthcare without damaging DaVita's robust, unconventional internal culture. When Thiry joined DaVita in 1999, breaking an important promise to his family in order to do so, he was determined to create a differentiated company with a community-like culture. Over six years, he had engineered an impressive financial turnaround and successfully developed the strong culture he had envisioned. In late 2004, DaVita acquired arch-rival Gambro Healthcare, whose 12,000 employees would nearly double DaVita in size once the integration is completed in fall 2005. Confident that the deal makes business sense but worried about potential adverse impacts of the integration-especially in light of rumors that Gambro employees are suspicious of Thiry's authenticity and critical of DaVita's arguably eccentric culture-Thiry is considering whether to impose DaVita's culture on the new arrivals, or just allow Gambro to operate independently for a period of time.

Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Experience and Expertise; Employee Relationship Management; Leadership Style; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Organizational Culture; Personal Development and Career; Integration; Health Industry;


George, William W., and Natalie Kindred. Kent Thiry: "Mayor" of DaVita. Harvard Business School Case 410-065, May 2010. (Revised May 2011.)