Supplement | HBS Case Collection | April 2011 (Revised January 2013)

Felipe Calderón: Leading with Light and Power (C)

by J. Bruce Harreld and David Lane


This sequence of cases explores how leaders get their team focused on framing, analyzing, and ultimately acting upon complex decisions. The A case provides an inside look as President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, works with his cabinet ministers to decide how to turnaround a corrupt, highly unionized, and poorly managed state-owned company which distributes electrical energy to Mexico City and the surrounding environs. While previous administrations over several decades were aware of the problem, none wanted to risk the political or economic consequences of prolonged strikes and power outages in one of the world's most populous cities. Yet, it is now clear that the company's poor financial performance and corruption are causing significant harm to Mexico. A central theme is the president's role in making sure his team has done its homework and is fully prepared to make the appropriate decision. The B case, to be handed out during class, provides the actual decision criteria used. The C case, to be handed out at the end of class, describes what the team ultimately decided and how they executed it.

Keywords: Management Analysis, Tools, and Techniques; Decision Choices and Conditions; Cases; Leadership Style; Crime and Corruption; State Ownership; Problems and Challenges; Risk and Uncertainty; Economics; Finance; Performance; Management Teams; Energy Industry; Mexico City;


Harreld, J. Bruce, and David Lane. "Felipe Calderón: Leading with Light and Power (C)." Harvard Business School Supplement 811-094, April 2011. (Revised January 2013.)