Case: The !Women"s Tennis Association" comes to China #
But who? ______________________________
The Women!s Tennis Association (WTA) board has committed to
opening an Asian regional office in Beijing before the opening games of the 2013 Summer Olympics, and Michael Shoemaker
has a lot on his mind. As the "chief operating officer! (COO) of the WTA, he is charged with deciding how to staff the local office. Should the managing director be a local or an expatriate? What is the optimal mix of expatriates and locals? It!s the 18th of February 2013, and the WTA board wants to hear his recommendations as soon as possible, so it could notify potential expatriate staff by the end of the month and open the office by the 1st of June 2013. The WTA has come a long way since its founding in 1973, and
locating the WTA!s Asian headquarters in Beijing was a big leap for women!s professional tennis. Shoemaker knows that the board will be expecting his recommendation regarding who should be selected to relocate to Beijing and head the WTA!s Asian
The world is watching ______________________
As Shoemaker paced around his office in St. Petersburg, Florida, he knows that the board is primarily concerned with who would be the managing director of the WTA!s first Asian regional office. It is a high-profile decision because not only are the Beijing Olympics
mere months away and the world!s eyes on Beijing, but also the Beijing government has offered the WTA numerous subsidies to open the regional headquarters there. The WTA!s Beijing office would mark one of the first times a foreign sports organization opened its doors in Beijing, so other sporting organizations will also be watching.
Shoemaker recognized that the sporting business in China differs from what he was accustomed to in the United States or in the United Kingdom, where the WTA has another office. For starters, China!s central and local governments have much more influence on sports. Regarding what he was looking for in a managing
director, Schoemaker says: #We view it as an important quality to have someone who is sensitive to different cultural, sports- and business points of view and capable of dealing in an effective way with our local partners in China$. The main question he is
grappling with is whether the managing director should be a local person who understood the market but who would not initially understand the WTA, or an expatriate who understands the WTA but would need to learn about operating in China.
Why don"t you go? ________________
So much uncertainty is surrounding the staffing of the Beijing office that Shoemaker!s immediate reports even suggested that he should lead the Beijing contingent. He was not sure whether the suggestion has been made in jest, but a quick analysis caused him to veto the idea. Shoemaker, a Canadian lawyer who had
studied at The University Western Ontario!s law school and had worked in New York City as a sports lawyer, based his analysis on two key points:
He himself did not speak Mandarin. And, even more important, he worried about marginalizing himself from the WTA!s global
operations if he focused on one region. Shoemaker, only 35 years old, is looking for a long career with the WTA and does not want to blemish what to date has been a relatively impressive career path at the WTA by an impulsive adventure to Asia; consequently, he went back to his desk.
What are the benefits of a local (Chinese) managing director? ___________________________________________________
Shoemaker analysed the key benefits of a Chinese managing
director quite succinctly: he or she would understand the local market and speak the language (Mandarin), both of which were imperative if the managing director were to meet the board!s criteria and to succeed in the new position.
The board had already laid out the key deliverables for the
managing director and they were substantial (see...