Molson’s Quest for Principles and Good Governance

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CASE STUDY. Governance at Molson.


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Molson’s Quest for Principles and Good Governance: Abstract

This case looks at the vagaries of Molson’s corporate governance during the period from 1995 to 2003, which led to a declaration of the Molson Family Principles and a review of the board of directors’ effectiveness initiated by Eric Molson, its chair. These actions proved particularly important in light of the attitudes, behaviours, decisions, and ambitions of Ian Molson, a distant cousin who sat on the board, and CEO Dan O’Neill. Patriarch of the Tom Molson (his father) clan and controlling shareholder of the company, Eric Molson needed to reaffirm the values and principles of his family by using his power of persuasion and influence and, if necessary, the (heavy) artillery to ensure the company’s sustainability.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the specificities of family business governance, particularly for large publicly traded family businesses such as Molson;
  • Learn about the various theoretical perspectives proposed by authors to understand the issues, challenges, and particularities of the governance of family businesses, particularly large publicly traded family businesses such as Molson;
  • Analyze the distinctive features of the Molson company, the situation and incidents recounted in this case in light of various theories;
  • Discuss the key characteristics that distinguish successful family businesses through the lens of different theoretical perspectives.

Main Themes Covered

  • Governance;
  • Family Business;

Additional Information

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

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