Should the C-Suite Have a “Green” Seat?

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www.hbr.org

HBR CASE STUDY

Should Narinex hire a CSO?

Should the C-Suite
Have a “Green” Seat? by Eric J. McNulty and Rupert Davis


Reprint R1012X
Purchased by robert duboff (robert.duboff@hawkpartners.com) on January 12, 2012

Bent on improving its ecocredentials, a company debates the need for a chief sustainability officer.

HBR CASE STUDY

Should the C-Suite
Have a “Green” Seat?

COPYRIGHT © 2010 HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL PUBLISHING CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

by Eric J. McNulty and Rupert Davis

Jennifer Brown, CEO of Narinex, an electronic components manufacturer based in Michigan, re-read the news alert on her screen. The company had lost another major contract to Glistrom, a UK-based competitor it had regularly beaten. She called out to her secretary. “Sally, I need Herb Tyler and Laura Dyson right away.”
Losses like these were not just the normal ebb and flow of deal making, and Brown wanted input from her COO, Tyler, and her
CFO, Dyson. She was determined to keep
Narinex on top.
With $3.2 billion in revenue and operations in North America, Europe, and Asia, Narinex had performed consistently well with Brown at the helm. A favorite of Wall Street analysts, it had kept costs low even as it expanded into new lines and markets, and Brown was now regarded as both innovative and hard-nosed. At her direction, Narinex had outsourced some of its R&D to bring new offerings to market more

quickly, and she had negotiated performancebased contracts that kept the supply chain lean and mean. She had also sold the corporate jet and refused a company car, to show her commitment to limiting overhead.
Within 20 minutes Dyson and Tyler were waiting for Brown. These senior managers were accustomed to her urgent summons and the subsequent grilling. Tyler had also seen the
Glistrom announcement and knew Brown would be anxious. It was a multiyear deal potentially worth $50 million.
“I’ve already asked Ian to get

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