Navigating Boardroom Politics at Molson

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CASE STUDY. This case covers the discussions and events that took place in 2004 at the family, board, and executive levels at Molson Inc.

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Navigating Boardroom Politics at Molson: Abstract

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.

Learning 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

Main themes covered

  • Corporate governance
  • Family business
  • Board of directors
  • Strategic vision

Additional information

Teaching notes are available for University teachers only. Please contact Centre de cas HEC Montréal to request them.

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