Engie Fires CEO: Was Performance the Only Issue?
(6 pages of text)
Case (Pub Mat)
In February 2020, the board of directors of the French energy utility company, Engie SA (Engie), terminated the services of the company’s chief executive officer (CEO). Before her departure, this CEO was the only female CEO among the Cotation Assistée en Continu (CAC) 40 benchmark stock market index of firms. After becoming CEO in May 2016, she divested billions of dollars’ worth of fossil-fuel assets and reinvested the proceeds in renewable and energy efficiency services. Her goal was to restructure the loss-making energy company, but the board of directors was not satisfied with her performance. Despite an improvement in the company’s financial performance during her tenure, Engie remained one of the lowest-valued energy utility companies on European stock exchanges. With a focus on renewable energy, Engie’s relative performance continued to suffer. The chair of the company’s board of directors had to determine the cause of the company’s stock market performance and find ways to improve. He also had to consider what other factors, in addition to value creation for shareholders, should be used as a performance measure for the next CEO.
This case is intended for undergraduate- and graduate-level courses on strategic management, corporate governance, or leadership. The case deals with the challenges faced by an organization when the CEO’s performance does not meet the expectations of the board of directors. The case also discusses reasons for poor stock market performance despite an increase in revenues. After completion of this case, students will be able to
- critically analyze what factors affect the relationship between the CEO and the board of directors;
- describe how the stock market evaluates a CEO’s strategies;
- assess alternative ways of evaluating a CEO’s performance, especially using the balanced scorecard; and
- evaluate what control systems an organization can deploy, especially at the top management level.
France, Large, 2020
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