Navigating Boardroom Politics at Molson (A and B)

Case number : 9 40 2021 007A-B
Case published in the International Journal of Case Studies in Management, Vol. 19, No. 2
Date :  2021-05-06
Teaching notes included :  Yes

This case covers the discussions and events that took place in 2004 at the family, board, and executive levels at Molson Inc. (Molson). At that time, there was a debate between two strategic orientations: the merger of Molson with A. Coors & Co. (Coors) or the outright sale of Molson to a competitor. The case focuses on the interactions between key governance actors, including the chair, Eric Molson, the deputy chair, Ian Molson, the chief executive officer, Dan O’Neill, and other members of Molson’s board of directors. Molson’s status as a publicly traded family-controlled firm raises issues such as the importance of family support, the name of the entity resulting from any transaction, and the extent of family involvement in its governance.

Teaching objectives
  • Understand and analyze issues arising from the governance of family-controlled firms
  • Identify and examine challenges facing board chairs, especially when they are family members with a specific vision
  • Highlight and analyze issues arising from relations between board members and management, especially the CEO
  • Analyze the strategic options being considered by the board (i.e., a merger with Coors or a takeover by Heineken) through a qualitative comparison and/or an analysis of financial statements
  • Show how tensions between owners can be detrimental to family businesses and their performance.
Primary domain :  Management  - Strategy
Secondary domain :  Not available
Sectors :  Consumer goods
Type :  Traditional case (Descriptive or analytical case)
Event location :  Canada
Year of start of the event :  2004
Year the event ended :  2004
Business size :  Large enterprise
Concepts et théories en lien avec le cas
  • Corporate governance
  • Family business
  • Board of directors
  • Strategic vision