Academic journal article Journal of Case Studies

The Kick Seen 'Round the World: A Case Study in Crisis Management and Corporate Governance

Academic journal article Journal of Case Studies

The Kick Seen 'Round the World: A Case Study in Crisis Management and Corporate Governance

Article excerpt

The Decision Dilemma

Elevator video surveillance from July of 2014 in the upscale Private Residences at the Hotel Georgia in Vancouver, Canada showed a man and a dog entering the elevator. After entering the elevator, the video showed the man repeatedly kicking and yanking on the leash of the pup. After the video had been released to the media in Canada, there was an effort to identify the man in the video. One day after the incident, Desmond "Des" Hague was identified as the man in the video. Hague's behavior was described as "uncharacteristic" for the man who had been CEO of Centerplate, Inc. since 2009 and who was a veteran of the foodservice industry having served in leadership roles at IHOP, Safeway and Taco Bell (Centerplate, 2014). With Hague at the helm, Centerplate recently won the hospitality service bidding for the newly built Levi's Stadium, home of the famed San Francisco 49rs football team. Aware of the incident, Centerplate's Board of Directors needed to determine what course(s) of action to consider. The dog walked away from the incident, but animal abuse charges could have been filed against their CEO. How could that impact their CEO and Centerplate? The incident occurred during Hague's personal time. Thus, is it the company's concern, or should they stay out of it? Should Hague be supported with counseling, reprimanded, placed on corporate probation, fined, forced to resign, fired, or some combination of these?

Centerplate, Inc.

Centerplate, a hospitality services company, was founded as Automatic Company of America in 1929 by Nathaniel Leverone. After success with various innovations in the vending machine business, which included branching into sandwiches, ice cream, cakes and cigarettes, the company's first entree into large scale hospitality services was when the Philadelphia Athletics moved into their stadium in Kansas City in 1954. From that time on, what is now Centerplate had continued success in non-vended food services including hotels, airlines, restaurants, and recreational areas. Pivotal moments in the company's history were its acquisitions by International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation (ITT) in 1968, which was followed by divestment and another acquisition by Trans World Airlines in 1973. After TW Holdings, changed its name to Flagstar and sold the Canteen (Centerplate) arm of the business to a group of the company's high-level executives, Centerplate, Inc. was founded and landed in its long-term home in Spartanburg, South Carolina (Pederson, 2006). Centerplate's mission statement read:

Our mission is to make it better to be there. Every time. Everywhere.

By understanding what matters most-to guests, to fans, to communities-we help make the most of every moment through a strategic approach to hospitality.

We craft one-of-a-kind guest experiences that reflect purpose and place, so your presence is valued, your returns are rewarding, and your community connections are authentic.

That's the power of Centerplate.

Making it better to be there since 1929. (Centerplate, 2015)

A privately held company, Centerplate ranked 5th among North American Foodservice Firms by sales in millions of dollars (Lazich, 2014):

1.   Aramark          $9,019
2.   Sodexo           $8,000
3.   Delaware North   $2,200
4.   Compass Group    $1,100
5.   Centerplate      $ 825

In addition to its long and successful history, Centerplate reached this status by providing food services for Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA tournaments, World Cup games and Presidential Inauguration Balls. Also, it had long-term service contracts with some of the best-known sporting complexes, including historic venues such as San Francisco's Candlestick Park and newly built stadiums such as Carolinas Stadium in Charlotte, home of the NFL's Carolina Panthers (Pederson, 2006).

Des Hague

Hague became CEO of Centerplate in 2009 after serving in executive roles at IHOP, Safeway, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and 7-Eleven (Roberts 2014). …

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