The centre of the case is a problem between tow management member, Wolfgang Keller (managing director) and Dimitri Brodsky (commercial director). Keller is superior of Dimitri and he he’s not satisfied with Dimitri’s performance since he joined the company two years ago. Keller now is considering three options: firing Brodsky, helping him to improve his performance or reorganizing the company around Brodsky by splitting marketing and sales.
Wolfgang Keller is 34 years old. He studied at Harward and University of Cologne. His first job was at a Gemran food manufacturer firm. First, he was a strategic planner there, but soon he became a general manager at an Ukrainian subsidiary and after he got promoted to be a general manager at a German subsidiary. He achieved his first big successes there and gained reputation in his profession. After 2 years he switched to the Ukrainean subsidiary of Königsbrau, a beer amnufacturer, as managing director.
There he also made success by increasing the subsidiary’s earnings to €7 million per year. He made significant changes through restructuring the marketing strategy and hiring new top-management group. The top-management in Munich was also impressed by his activity. Recently, Keller spent two month in Brazil to manage a start-up joint venture. Königsbrau’s Ukrainean subsidiary was founded 12 years before Königsburg aquired it. After, a man named Vladimir Antonov took the title of chaiman.
Keller could get his job, because his predecessor had bad relationship with Antonov, so he was transfered back to Germany. Keller’s relationship with Antonov is good, but Antonov misses being involved into daily operations. The strategy of the company is to consolidate and strenghten the company’s distributors by offering heavy support. The strategy also includes heavy advertising, quality services and high margins. In the Ukrainian liqueur market personal relationships and trust between the company and distributors is essential. Another challange is converting people from vodka and cheap beers towards premium beers. Keller’s intention was to strenhgten relationships and create personal contacts with the distributors. Dimitri Brodsky is 10 years older than Keller and he has a very different personality.
He is a cultivated and intellectual person. Before this firm he was a commercial director at a Ukrainian subsidiary of a US toiletries firm, but he also has experience from the United States and France. He was hired to balance the young managers at Königsbrau. He has a good but distant relationship with Antonov. The problem between Brodsky and Keller is the very different uptake about how to handle the employees and the business partners. Keller prefers closer relationship with the employees, because he thinks this helps them to be more loyal and enthusiastic. Furthermore, he doens’t avoid personal topics. With the costumers and partners he encourages the same attitude, because he thinks it’s very important and essential for a business relationship. Brodsky, on the contrary, prefers formality and distance. He also beleives in separation between the pesonal and professional life and he deals with the employees and costumers this way. The source of problem between him and Keller is this different attitude. Keller thinks that Brodsky is just reluctant to take care of everyday business. However, Keller seems inpatient and action-oriented from Brodsky’s angle.