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IMD thought leadership recognized for excellence by EFMD

Professors Benoit Leleux and Ralf Seifert, and co-authors, win EFMD case-writing awards
May 2018

EFMD, an international, not-for-profit, membership organization of business schools and corporations recently announced the winners of its annual case writing competition and IMD authors feature prominently among the laureates.

IMD Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance Benoit Leleux and IMD Professor of Operations Management Ralf Seifert (along with their co-authors) powered IMD to EFMD case-writing awards in three categories:

  • Euro-Mediterranean Managerial Practices & Issues COCO-MAT: THE SPARTAN MATTRESS REVOLUTION (IMD-7-1802)

The Coco-Mat case tracks the development of the bedding brand from its initial concept in 1989 to the iconic status it had achieved by 2016. During that time, it went through a progressive refining of its customer proposition and brand values, developed a global retail network and expanded into hotels and wood bikes, among other areas. Back in 1989, Paul and Mike Efmorfidis embarked on a wild journey to develop an original, Greece-based sleeping system company. At the end of 2015, Coco-Mat was running stores in 14 countries, employed 250+ people, most of them in Greece, and this was nowhere close to the end of the story. They had started on a beach with virtually nothing, invented new concepts in an industry they knew little about and they could only be described as fairly resistant to change. They withstood one of the worst economic crises ever seen by a country, and they were now discussing further international expansion and accelerating growth. Could they continue to operate with their initial business model? Was it time to solidify the company and install more systems and structure? How could they retain their agility? What kind of culture did they want to establish for the company and leave behind as a legacy? The past had been nothing short of amazing but where should they take the company next?


OCTOBER 2015, ZURICH (SWITZERLAND). Michel Galeazzi and Felix Ackermann, the two co-founders of the private equity firm Evoco AG, were pondering their next move for Kyotec, one of their portfolio companies which just underwent a drastic restructuring. Evoco itself was at an interesting junction: Was it time to plan an exit from the investment? A strategic sale would surely strengthen Evoco’s credibility and validate its original business model. As a new private equity manager focused on fixing Abstract: two related, well-known industry issues (the lack of liquidity and serious conflicts of interests when a fund was not performing) through active ownership, it definitely could have used some good, early performance numbers. But the turnaround was still in its early phases, and maybe it made more sense to keep Kyotec and actively drive the value-enhancing initiatives. The underlying question was how much more value Felix and Michel could still bring to the table. Finally, was their precious time and limited resources better spent trying to generate value in the other companies in Evoco’s portfolio?

  • Supply Chain Management SKY DEUTSCHLAND A&B (IMD-7-1805, IMD-7-1806)

The case series describes the supply chain transformation of Sky Germany, the leading pay TV provider in Germany and Austria. In 2010, the company was losing money and facing a lot of operational challenges such as a slow subscriber growth, a high customer churn rate, high fixed costs and frequent product stock-outs. In 2010 Sebastian Hauptmann joined Sky as VP of Logistics to help turn the company around. He had to act swiftly to address short-term problems while developing and implementing the strategy for long-term operational success. He put in place a multi-year strategic supply chain transformation program, a culture of continuous improvements (CI), and a world-class team. By 2014, all important KPI’s had improved significantly, and the company was on the path to turnaround, supported by the wide-ranging improvements in supply chain management. In 2016, for the first time in its history, Sky Deutschland reported positive operating results. With his continued success, Sebastian successively increased his responsibilities to become first SVP of Supply Chain, Procurement & CI and then EVP of Operations in 2016. The German Pay TV market remains a large opportunity for Sky Deutschland and rapid technology changes in TV and media present new challenges to the Sky group across Europe. The case study highlights the importance of operational improvements and can be used to introduce core supply chain concepts such as SCOR®, S&OP, CPFR and cleansheet costing. The case will challenge participants to move from concepts to implementation. The A- and B- case together span a timeframe of ca. 4.5 years and are supported by extensive video footage.

For the last thirty years, EFMD has been organising its yearly case writing competition. With a wide selection of categories that focus on specific issues, as well as specific regions of the world, the aim of the EFMD case competition is to encourage and support the writing and creation of new and innovative case material.