REV: MAY 11, 2007
ROBERT J. DOLAN BENSON P. SHAPIRO
Milford Industries (A)
On Friday, July 15, 1983, Harrison “Harry” Oates was suddenly promoted to district sales manager of the Capital District for Milford Industries. Oates, formerly assistant product manager based in Milford’s home office in Chicago, replaced Samuel Goldberg who earlier that week had died unexpectedly. The Capital District included Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Oates would work in the district office in Baltimore, Maryland. Ben Donovan, Milford’s national commercial sales manager, congratulated Oates and said it was a great opportunity for him to prove himself as an operating manager. Donovan said it was time to get the district “back on the move,” apparently implying the district had been a problem in recent years. Oates also met with Jack Falzarano, who was based in Chicago. Falzarano had been the sales manager for the eastern region, which included the Capital District. He was slated to leave the following week to become marketing vice president of Milford’s United Kingdom subsidiary. The new eastern regional sales manager would be Ted Newbury, previously a district manager on the West Coast. Newbury, promoted only two weeks ago, had returned to his Los Angeles office after spending a week with Falzarano visiting each district in the territory. Falzarano met briefly with Oates on Friday, but explained that because of personal commitments related to his move to Europe he could not meet with Harry over the weekend or on Monday. They scheduled a Tuesday morning meeting to discuss the district. Falzarano promised to prepare a brief description of each of the eight salespeople in the district by early Monday afternoon. He also mentioned that the district’s monthly sales meeting was scheduled for Friday, July 22, in Baltimore: I wish I could be with you at the meeting but I must be on a plane to London at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon. You might consider spending next Wednesday and Thursday meeting the salespeople in the field and having the sales meeting as an introductory session. On the other hand you might want to postpone the July 22 meeting until you have traveled with each salesperson and assessed the situation. You might want to discuss the matter with Ted Newbury before you make a decision. Falzarano and Oates agreed to meet again at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Falzarano then gave Oates a collection of material on the district. He again mentioned that he would have his own brief assessment of each salesperson available Monday and that Oates would find the detailed personnel files for each person at the district office in Baltimore. He cautioned him against asking for the district ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Professors Robert J. Dolan and Benson P. Shapiro prepared this case. HBS cases are developed solely as the basis for class discussion. Cases are not intended to serve as endorsements, sources of primary data, or illustrations of effective or ineffective management. Copyright © 1983 President and Fellows of Harvard College. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 1-800-545-7685, write Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston, MA 02163, or go to http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the permission of Harvard Business School.
office files to be sent to Chicago since Falzarano felt that it might unduly concern the office and sales personnel.
Harry Oates had turned 29 in June 1983. He had grown up in Cleveland and attended Morgan State College in Baltimore where he majored in economics. He had been active in student government and varsity sports and...