Europe Research Center

The Europe Research Center in Paris (ERC) opened in 2003, and plays an important role in helping HBS develop and strengthen relationships with European business and academic leaders. The ERC enables Harvard Business School faculty to study more effectively one of the world's most important economic regions during a time of significant transformation. The ERC has contributed to more than 260 faculty publications (case studies, research notes, books and articles) and research projects. Research topics range from the challenges of European economic and financial integration, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, international capital flows, investor relations, consumer marketing, to policy-making issues and the impact of new technologies on business.

HBS Europe Research Center (ERC)

Update July - December 2013

In this update:

- New publications on EADS, Investindustrial, D'O, Siemens, Hg Capital, and Visma.
- New completed research project on the transformation of European energy markets.
- Ongoing research in General Management, Organizational Behavior, Technology and Operations Management, and Entrepreneurial Management.
- ERC case interviews and field research in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, Selected events: Glocoll Program on campus; MBA events in Munich, Frankfurt, Paris and London; the European Area Conference; CSR Conference in Brussels; EAB meeting in Milan; L'Etudiant Conference in Paris; ELC Meeting in Geneva.

It is with mixed feelings that we say farewell to our Research Associate, Mr. Karol Misztal. Karol first joined the ERC in 2010, and quickly became a valuable member of our team. We are thankful for his contributions to our organization and, undeniably, he will be deeply missed. Please join us in wishing Karol the very best of luck and success in all his future endeavors.

We were also very fortunate to welcome two outstanding Harvard College students to the ERC team for a two-month internship: Ms. Nina Chen and Mr. Roland Yang. We would like to thank them for their great work and we wish them all the best for their future careers!
br> And to all of you, Happy Holidays and best wishes for 2014!

Newly Released Cases

Case study "FX Risk Hedging at EADS"

Co-authored with Professor Carl Kester, FIN, this case describes how, in 2008, EADS, the European aerospace group that owns Airbus, was faced with the decision of how best to hedge against the risks stemming from a large and growing mismatch between its dollar revenues and its euro manufacturing costs. Specifically, the company needed to decide if it would continue hedging primarily with forward contracts, but in much higher volumes and at increasingly unfavorable rates, or to break with past practice and begin using foreign exchange option contracts. The decision would have consequences for EADS' profitability, cash flow, and its ability to fund strategic investment programs crucial to its ability to remain competitive with Boeing. Students must address questions concerning the proper way to measure foreign exchange exposures, the objectives of a rational risk management program for a company like EADS competing in a duopoly with Boeing, the differences between hedging with FX options versus FX futures, counterparty risk, and hedge accounting, among other considerations.

Case study "Investindustrial Exits Ducati"

Co-authored with Professor François Brochet, ACCT, this case examines how, in early 2012, Investindustrial, a European private equity group, publicly announced their intention to sell their 76.7% stake in Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A., an iconic Italian producer of sport performance motorcycles. The decision followed a six-year turnaround during which Ducati returned to profitability and significantly expanded its product line. Investindustrial's team had the following exit alternatives: 1) a trade sale to an automotive buyer; 2) a secondary buyout, partial or complete, by a financial investor; 3) a relisting in Hong Kong. Each option had its pros and cons, but all required a careful valuation of Ducati to maximize the investors' return on their flagship investment.

Case study "Chef Davide Oldani and Ristorante D'O"

Co-authored with Professor Gary Pisano, TOM, this case examines the unique business model of Ristorante D'O, a high end gourmand restaurant located near Milan, Italy. Founded by Chef Davide Oldani, D'O offers meals at approximately one-third the price of other Michelin starred restaurants. Oldani has made this business model profitable by making a conscious set of operating strategy choices (menu, meal design, service process, lay-out, reservation process) that reduce waste and inefficiency, while preserving quality. The case enables students to understand how cost-quality trade-offs can be altered through creative operating strategies, and sufficient data are available to analyze the operating model in depth. A second focal point of the case concerns Oldani's choices for growth. The wait list for D'O is currently 18 months. He can presumably open another D'O at a different location. At the time of the case, however, he is considering opening a new restaurant in the same vicinity as D'O that would operate at an even lower price point. Case debate can center around whether this new restaurant format makes sense from a strategic point of view, and, in particular, whether the capabilities and know-how acquired in operating D'O are applicable to the new restaurant. The deeper issue in the case concerns how businesses based on the creative talent of an individual (like Chef Oldani) can grow, without losing what makes them special.

Case study "Sustainability at Siemens"

Co-authored with Professors V. Kasturi Rangan, MKT, and Amy C. Edmondson, TOM, this case describes the various comprehensive sustainability efforts at Siemens since the arrival of Chief Sustainability Officer, Barbara Kux, in 2008. Through the case the students study how difficult change programs are being implemented in a large traditional company, and that the actions of individuals as well as the organization's priorities are key determinants. The case finally asks students to evaluate the success of those efforts, as well as their potential 'sustainability' after the impending departure of Ms Kux, and to outline what the company should do going forward.

Case study "HgCapital and the Visma Transaction (A, B-1, B-2)"

Co-authored with Professor Paul A. Gompers, FIN, this case describes the negotiations of a deal by Hg Capital, a UK-based private equity firm, to buy Visma, ASA, a Norwegian software company. Visma has received an offer from Sage Group, a strategic acquirer. Hg Capital must determine if it wants to bid and how to outbid the potential strategic acquirer. The case concerns bidding and negotiations strategies as well as deal structuring issues. In particular, the cross border nature of the investment, a UK firm investing in Norway, leads to a number of financing issues related to raising the debt for the LBO. The case provides an opportunity to role play both the PE fund perspective and the potential target.

Research project "Europe, Russia, and the Gas Revolution"

Professor Rawi Abdelal, BGIE, is currently writing a case with Leonardo Maugeri (HKS) about the transformation of European energy markets as a result of the unconventional gas revolution and declining European demand for gas. Together these two phenomena seem to have affected the relationship between European customers and traditional suppliers, particularly Russia's Gazprom. The contract structures are changing, and the importance of spot prices and hubs are both increasing. The ERC participated in Rawi's project by organizing interviews with executives at E.ON, RWE, GDF Suez, EDF, and at the European Commission.

Sample Research in Progress

The ERC is currently working on several cases and research projects such as:

- A case on a privately managed and publicly owned Spanish hospital that introduces a debate on the future of that model, with Professor Regina E. Herzlinger, GM.
- A case on the growth strategy of a Pan-European early-stage investment network, with Professor Lynda Applegate, EM/GM.
- A case on a British Formula One car racing team, with Professor Stefan H. Thomke and Professor Nikolaos Trichakis, TOM.
- A research project on how the automation of a Parisian metro line came with a professional adjustment for certain employees, from driving trains to service work, with Professor Michel Anteby, OB.

The ERC is also exploring a case on a German medium-sized manufacturer's efforts in diversity management, particularly regarding workers with immigrant backgrounds, with Professor Clayton M. Christensen, GM.

Visits Involving the Center

Research activities in July 2013 through December 2013 involved case site interviews in:

- Austria, for a case study on a producer and distributor of analog cameras, with Professor John T. Gourville, MKT.
- Belgium, for meetings on corporate social responsibility with representatives of the European Commission, for Professor V. Kasturi Rangan, MKT.
- Denmark, for a case study on a two star restaurant, with Professor Mukti Khaire, EM.
- France, for a case study on a large French public transportation company, with Professor Michel Anteby, OB.
- Spain, for a case study on a Spanish public-private healthcare organization, with Professor Regina Herzlinger, GM.
- France, for a case study on a hotel and restaurant reference guide, with Professor Mukti Khaire, EM.
- The U.S., for follow up interviews for the case study on a Formula One sport team, with Professors Stefan Thomke and Nikolaos Trichakis, TOM.
- Switzerland, for a case study on one of the healthcare industry's largest access-to-medicine programs, with Professor Michael Chu, GM.
- Sweden, for a case study on a Swedish lighting manufacturer, with Professor Krishna Palepu, GM.
- Denmark, for a case study on a Danish bakery chain, with Professor Krishna Palepu, GM.

In addition, we were happy to see here in Paris:

HBS/HU Faculty:

- Prof. Michel Anteby, OB
- Prof. Mukti Khaire, EM
- Prof. David S. Scharfstein, FIN
- Prof. Rawi Abdelal, BGIE

HBS/HU Staff:

- Ms. Victoria Winston, Executive Director, Global Initiative
- Ms. Cigdem Celik, Research Assistant at the Istanbul Research Center
- Ms. Susan Hamilton, Director International Development, External Relations
- Ms. Carin Knoop, Executive Director, Case Research and Writing Group
- Ms. Becky Miller, MBA Admissions
- Ms. Rachel Frankenfield, Assistant Director, MBA Admissions Outreach


- Mr. Matthew Prisco, Senior Strategic Relationship Manager, HBSP
- Mr. David Champion, Senior Editor HBR
- Mr. Brandon Hight, Global Sales Director, HBSP
- Ms. Ellen Gandt, HBSP VP, Sales and Marketing, HBSP
- Mr. Michael Cronin, HBSP

Other Visitors:

- Mr. Philippe Colombé, ERC & ADRGE accountant
- Ms. Catherine Bouvier d'Yvoire, MBA 1982
- Mr. Baptiste Boudard, Management Development Director at L'Oréal
- Ms. Elisa Chen, 1st year MBA Student


Visit on Campus for the fifth edition of the GloColl Program, and meetings with the directors of the other HBS research centers and with HBS Staff, July: The program "Global Colloquium on Participant Centered Learning" is designed for professors from Business Schools in Europe, Asia, and Latin America and focuses on how to teach using the case method. The ERC collaborates in the outreach to and recruitment of European faculty. Vincent Dessain, the ERC Executive Director, and Jan Pianca, Educational Programs Assistant Director Europe, attend the event every year. This year's edition was another success with 143 faculty members attending from 29 different countries. The trip also included meetings with the directors of the other HBS research centers, with faculty members to scope and pitch new projects, and with staff members, particularly of external relations, admissions and career services.

HBS MBA Information Sessions in Munich and Frankfurt, September: These information sessions, kindly hosted by Pimco in Munich and Goldman Sachs in Frankfurt, were organized to present the Harvard Business School MBA program, including admission process, curriculum, and funding, to potential candidates based in these two major European cities. Over 70 participants joined Jan Pianca and Rachel Frankenfield, Assistant Director, MBA Admissions Outreach, for these instructive sessions. In each presentation, the potential applicants could interact with a panel composed of HBS alumni.

Conference "Beyond CSR: Moving Towards Corporate Impact Assessment and Measurement" in Brussels, September: ERC Executive Director Vincent Dessain, ERC Research Assistant Emer Moloney, and HBS Research Associate Lisa Chase attended the CSR Impact Conference in Brussels on September 17-18, 2013, where the CSR Impact group presented its findings from two years of in-depth research on CSR practices in a broad range of EU corporations. Vincent Dessain joined the panel: "CSR and Corporate Impact Assessment - The Implications for Business, Banks and Investor Engagement" as a guest speaker. In conjunction with the conference, Vincent, Emer, and Lisa also conducted several meetings at the European Commission and the European Parliament.

EAB Meeting in Milan, October: The European Advisory Board meeting, which this year was held in Milan, gathered 12 EAB members. Board Chairman Mark Schneider introduced Prof. Felix Oberholzer-Gee, Senior Associate Dean for International Development, and Prof. Ramon Casadesus-Masanell, Faculty Chair Global Initiative, Europe, and thanked EAB members Dr. Rolf Breuer and Mr. Belmiro M. de Azevedo, who will be stepping down. The meeting was the occasion to present the latest developments of the School, including the School's 50th anniversary of admitting women to the MBA program, the establishment of the Istanbul Research Center, the HBX online platform, as well as the first university-wide Capital Campaign, which will be officially launched in April 2014. Vincent Dessain provided an update on the latest activities of the Europe Research Center. Professor Felix Oberholzer-Gee led a case discussion on the Harvard Business School case study 'Investing in Innovation'.

L'Etudiant Conference in Paris, November: The conference "How to create a partnership with one of the world's top 100 universities?" was held in Paris on November 15-16, 2013 and offered an opportunity for guest professors and program managers to interact, identify new opportunities, and share best practices. Vincent Dessain attended the event as a keynote speaker for the 'American Business Schools' panel.

MBA Information Sessions in Paris and London, November: These information sessions, kindly hosted by Deloitte in Paris and Morgan Stanley in London, were organized to present the Harvard Business School MBA program, including the admission process, curriculum and funding to potential future MBA applicants. The presentations, which gathered over 230 participants in total, were led by Rachel Frankenfield, Assistant Director, MBA Admissions Outreach, and Dana Fernandez, Assistant Director of the MBA Program. In each presentation, the potential applicants could interact with a panel composed of HBS alumni.

ELC Meeting in Geneva, November: The European Leadership Council, which successfully brought together 14 ELC members, was hosted at the Société Nautique of Geneva, Switzerland. Council Chairman Jim Barry welcomed all the participants to the meeting and introduced Prof. Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Prof. Ramon Casadesus-Masanell. Prof. Casadesus-Masanell presented the latest developments of the School, including the events related to the School's 50th anniversary of admitting women to the MBA program, the FIELD Initiative, the US Competitiveness project, as well as the Capital campaign. Felix Oberholzer-Gee focused the Council's attention on Alumni Engagement and led a case discussion on the Harvard Business School case study 'Investing in Innovation'. ELC Member Neil Rimer conducted a Q&A session on Venture Capital in Europe. Finally, Vincent Dessain presented the latest activities of the Center, and solicited advice on prospective case and research leads.


We welcome all suggestions and comments. Please contact us:

Vincent Dessain, Executive Director,
Daniela Beyersdorfer, Assistant Director,
Elena Corsi, Senior Researcher,
Jan Pianca, Educational Programs Manager Europe,
Emer Moloney, Research Assistant,
Jérôme Lenhardt, Research Assistant,
Emilie Billaud, Executive Assistant,
Oksana Sichi, Office Administrator,

More information about the ERC:

Best regards,
The staff of the HBS Europe Research Center

Past Editions












A&M Accounting and Management
MKT Marketing
BGIE Business, Government and the International Economy
NOM Negotiation, Organizations & Markets
EM Entrepreneurial Management
OB Organizational Behavior
FIN Finance
STRAT Strategy
GM General Management
TOM Technology and Operations Management