The Taran Swan case study is principally concerned with looking at how to maintain effective communication and leadership when an unexpected circumstance impacts the management structure of an organization. Problem Statement
Since the channel’s inception, Nickelodeon Latin America has been managed by Taran Swan, first as launch director and then as general manager. She has had a significant impact on all important decisions in the life of the enterprise. Unfortunately due to an unforeseen medical condition Swan will be required to leave the Nickelodeon headquarters and return home for several months. Her dilemma is how to ensure that during her convalescence the network continues to grow and thrive. Swan faces several specific decisions in the short term including what methods can she use to continue to lead her team from a remote location if she is going to stay involved? ;how will the network interact with its parent corporation without Swan to handle that relationship? But the most important choice facing Swan is should she appoint a deputy to handle some of her functions in her absence?
Nickelodeon Latin America
• Founded in 1996 as part of the MTV Networks division of Viacom • Service area from Mexico through most of Central and South America • First Nickelodeon property to service more than one country in more than one language • Based in Miami with satellite office in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico.
• HBS (1991)
• Six year experience in management in entertainment/broadcast industry • Very personable leader who believed in delegating authority to her subordinates • Consistently stressed strategic thinking in entire staff. • Very analytical and numbers driven
• Took over for a failing launch director for the Germany project and brought it to a successful conclusion • Had been a long time advocate for entering Latin America. Appointed launch director in May 1996 and general manager in September 2006
• Valerie McCarty – Vice President Marketing and Communications. Good business savvy and natural leadership skills. Native of Puerto Rico. • Steve Grieder – Vice President and Creative Director Programming. “Creative genius” who had some Latin American experience. Similar leadership style to Swan. • Donna Friedman – Vice President Marketing and Associate Creative Director. Passionate about the Nickelodeon brand. Excellent understanding of the company culture.
Relevant business issue
• MTV networks has not fully committed to the Latin America project. It may be quick to “pull the plug” if things do not go well. • Nickelodeon Latin America is sharing resources with MTV and it is an uncomfortable situation due to difference in culture. This is especially apparent in the sales area. • Latin American market is very complex. In contains multiple countries, two languages, and the regional cable infrastructure is immature. • Swan had to build a team from scratch in a short period of time. • Swan stressed communications between the staff and encouraged them to challenge each other. • Pan regional approach required innovative marketing approaches to attract viewers. • Major contract negation taking place to bring on the Cablevision/TCI the largest system in Argentina. • Swan, McCarty, and Friedman typically flew out every weekend to spend time with their families. • Plans are underway to provide a Brazil specific Portuguese language feed. • Swan’s pregnancy is deemed to be high risk and she will be forced to leave the Miami office to spend the rest of her pregnancy in her New York home.
Supporting facts from Alex.
Dedicated feed for Brazil
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