Franco Bernabe at Eni

Topics: Crisis, Management, Skill Pages: 3 (1002 words) Published: December 10, 2011
The appointment in 1992 of Franco Bernabè as CEO of Eni, a large, energy-focused industrial group in Italy, came as a surprise to many. Working as a financial controller and planner, Bernabè, he had gained the knowledge and experience within the company that provided him with the necessary skills to lead the company. He transformed Eni from a debt-ridden, politically controlled and government-owned company into a profitable and publicly traded organization. He transformed Eni under the most discouraging circumstances and employed risk situations to carry through some of his idealistic innovations. His ability to reform the company after several crises, combined with other competencies, lead to the survival and prosperity of Eni. This case report will elaborate on these competencies and compare them to the ones treated by Wooten and James (2008). Furthermore, several expectations and corresponding research findings by Boin and ‘t Hart (2003) will be discussed, together with the reform and crisis management imperatives mentioned by these authors. Boin and ’t Hart (2003) posit that although leaders should heed warnings about future crisis, most often leaders are ignorant of these warning, misinterpret them or simply ignore them. The authors furthermore identify the blockade of information passageways to leaders as a cause. In the case at hand, in the midst of the conversion process that Franco Bernabè initiated, approximately 25 of Eni’s executives were accused of corruption following the Clean Hands investigation by the Italian government. While Bernabè had strongly suspected corruption over the years, he did not have a clue that it involved so many employees. He expressed: ‘I realized how stupid I was’ and ‘How could I not have realized’ (Hill and Wetlaufer, 1998). In this sense, he ignored certain warnings about corruption within the company and thereby neglected to prevent the corruption crisis. This can be ascribed to the fact that high level executives did...
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