Corporate Transformation at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Case Solution

Joseph B. Fuller, Amy C. Edmondson, Daniela Beyersdorfer, Tonia Labruyere
Harvard Business School ()

When Stefan Oschmann became CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in 2016, the company had begun its transformation from a traditional mid-size German industrial company to a modern, global science and technology company. The portfolio restructuring and reorganization spearheaded by Oschmann’s predecessor, Karl-Ludwig Kley since 2007, had been approved by the thirteenth generation of Merck’s founding family, which still owned the majority of the shares. The interim results were encouraging. After three major acquisitions (Serono, Millipore and SigmaAldrich), which expanded the reach of Healthcare and Pharma to Life Sciences and Performance Materials, and an internal optimization program, sales and profitability doubled in the ten years prior to 2016. In the run-up to the company’s 350th anniversary in 2018, Oschmann kept up with the pace of change and announced further divestitures and restructurings, causing increasing anger among employees over the new measures. In autumn 2017, Oschmann and his board of directors had to decide the best strategic option for the Consumer Health business sector. Should they ditch a business that lacked size but was seen as symbolic of the company’s origins with its consumer brands in cold and pain medicine? Was more change too much change in such a short time?

We don‘t have the case solution, but we pay up to $50 for yours!

  • Set a reminder to receive an email after your university‘s case study deadline.
  • Upload your case study solution. We will review it for quality.
  • Get your money via PayPal or to your bank account.