TRANSFORMATION: THE OILCO
OilCo Chemical's downsizing followed the mold of similar stories elsewhere at OilCo, but the Chemical story is unique because it took place after the transformation had begun. Thus, in addition to all the other issues involved in restructuring, the leaders of OilCo Chemical had to cope with the expectations and anxieties that transformation had raised, and the messages sent by a staff reduction program during a time when prior years' financial results had been quite strong. Finally, the seniormost executive of OilCo Chemical, [President, OilCo Chemical], was new to this company. He had previously been an executive in Europe, and he and his subordinates both expressed a sense that they misunderstood each other at times.
At the time these interviews were conducted, it was not clear how the Chemical story would unfold, and many events were still controversial within the company. We present the story here as we first presented it, with the final decision about direction still to be made. The questions and reflections raised by the Chemical story may be particularly useful to leaders during tough times.
As in the other branches of OilCo, transformation led to a case for action. In the case of OilCo Chemical, the case for action was announced: Although profitable, the company was not competitive enough to be assured of continued success.