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ESMT Case Study

Hurricane Gudrun: Unleashing crisis power (A)

ESMT Case Study No. ESMT-306-0076-1
Erik H. Schlie (2006)
Strategy and general management
Crisis management, Sydkraft AB, E.ON AG, E.ON Sverige, Sweden, general management, power failure, electricity outage, Operation Gudrun, Hurricane Gudrun
This case illustrates key concepts and lessons about crisis management in the context of the energy sector in Sweden but also relates to broader general management and leadership topics. The A case is the first of a three-part case series. It portrays the events and actions following a massive hurricane (called "Gudrun") which devastated southern Sweden in January 2005, causing a major power outage among 258,000 of Sydkraft's customers. The initial impact of the storm was about 10 times more powerful than the standard "major disruption" scenario. Sydkraft AB is a Swedish energy company with a corporate history of more than 100 years and became part of the E.ON Group in 2001. What seems to start out as an operational crisis due to damages to the company's network infrastructure is gradually threatening to escalate into a fully-fledged corporate crisis. The case allows participants to assume the roles of several protagonists in the case, in order to solve the tensions that have surfaced during the discussion.
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