Mike mitchell left the bank of montreal

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Reference no: EM13860964


Mike Mitchell left the Bank of Montreal to become Vice President of Human Resources at the North American branch of the Swiss Bank Corporation (SBC) in the autumn of 1986.  It was a move up for him in terms of status, responsibility, monetary compensation, and challenge.  Of these, it was the challenge that was most intriguing to Mitchell.  In his mid-thirties, he saw this as a perfect time to take a risk in his career.  He realized that if he succeeded he would establish a prototype of "customerization" that  could be marketed to other firms.  In addition, success could lead to further career opportunities (and challenges).  While he had a general idea of what he wanted to do and had gotten verbal support from his superiors, the Senior Vice President of Human Resources, and the President of SBC's North American branch, the details of exactly what he was going to do and how he was going to do it remained to unfold.

In 1985, the parent company of SBC (a $110-billion universal bank) headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, decided it needed a clearer statement of its intentions in order to focus its energies and resources in light of the growing international competition.  Accordingly, it crafted a vision statement to the effect that the bank was going to better serve its customers with high quality products that served their needs rather than just those of the institution.  While the North American operation was relatively autonomous, it was still expected to embrace this vision.  The details of its implementation, however, were in local hands.  For the human resources side, the hands became those of Mitchell.

While Mitchell had spent some time in human resources at the Bank of Montreal in New York, the bulk of his work experience was an entrepreneur in Montreal, Canada.  It was the experience that most influenced his thinking.  Thus, when he cam to the SBC, his self-image was a businessperson who happened to be working in human resources.  In part because of his image, his stay at the Bank of Montreal was brief: Human Resources was still a bit too conservative for his style.  Too many of his ideas "just couldn't be done."  In interviewing with the top managers at SBC, however, they warned him of the same general environment.  Thus, he knew he would have to go slow to change nearly 1,000 employees, including his own department of ten employees, but he really didn't know what this meant.  He knew, however, that he wanted to "customerize" the HR department at SBC.

Source: Randall S. Schuler, New York University


  1. Who are Mitchell's customers?  What questions will he need to ask them?
  2. Detail Mitchell's game plan for success.  Include items such as time frame, training needs, who will have to change, in what order will changes be made, key people (advocates) to have on his side, cost/benefit analyses, implications for line managers, and implications for his own staff and department  structure.
  3. What are the key factors in Mitchell's success?
  4. Would you want this job?  Why or why not?

Reference no: EM13860964

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