Axel Springer in 2014: Strategic Leadership of the Digital Media Transformation Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Question 01: How would you evaluate Mathias Döpfner’s strategic leadership in the face of the digital revolution? What key strategic actions did he take and how were they different from how most other publishers approached the situation? How successful is the company’s digital transformation as it stands in2014.

As the case states, Mathias Döpfner when promoted as the CEO of the company in the year 2002 was only 39. Employees in the company considered his appointment rather controversial and felt he might be replaced soon. However, as soon as he took over as the leader of the company, he brought in instant success to the company.

With the advent of technology, internet and digitalization, Axel which previously was a print media company had to face severe difficulties. Not only the company Axel Springer, but other firms in the industry had to either move out of the business, or filed their cases for bankruptcy. This was the time when the digital revolution took place and all the customers in the industry were looking for convenient and user friendly methods of accessing news.

In such a scenario, Mathias Döpfner made strategic moves which were quite successful and the company went on to overcome the technology hurdle. One of the most successful decisions he took once he took over as the CEO of the company was to align the print and the digital media together (Jason, 2013).

First of all, Mathias Döpfner assigned Kai Diekmann, editor in chief of Axel print Bild division to actually look upon the online and the offline distribution channels. This was a rather successful move because previously the offline and the online channels were handled separately which caused a disruption and the two entities within the company were handled by separate leadership.

The key strategic decisions taken by Mathias Döpfner were to develop a closer knit amongst the internal executives of the company. Moreover, Mathias Döpfner even introduced one strategy for the digital activities where he developed three core competencies, creating the possible journalism, knowing how to turn brands and monetize the classified marketplace.

The three key success factors within the company were to not feel the self cannibalization, accept diverse and entrepreneurial personalities and also not allowing silos. He wanted to basically align the digital activities with the traditional print functions. His strategic focus was to align the print and the digital functions together so that the team does not consider themselves apart from each other.

As per the case, the company has been quite successful with the key strategic decisions taken by Mathias Döpfner, the company in spite of the technological and the digital revolution reaped in reasonable profits. As per the case, Axel Springer went on to generate reasonable profits in 2013. The two stage digital transformation strategy was a successful one for the company. It has more than 12800 employees.

The revenues went to $3.9 billion and the EBITDA crossed more than $625 million. The company had achieved most of its goals set for the digital media contributions and the company made it available in more than 44 countries and served more than 98 million clients worldwide. As per 2014, the company was quite successful in making decision that reaped in profits and success. The company went on to acquire smaller players in the market. Moreover, the customer base has been increasing rigorously. Therefore, it can be said that Axel Springer has been quite successful with its digital transformation (Jason, 2013).

Question 02: What did Kai Diekmann, Peter Würtenberger, and Martin Sinner learns from their 10 months in Silicon Valley and how did they incorporate these lessons into Axel Springer’s transformation? Moreover, what signals did their trip send to the organization?

In 2012, Döpfner sent Diekmann the editor in chief, Peter Wurtenberger CMO of the company and Martin Sinner MD Idealo to find the new entrepreneurial ideas for the digital growth.  During their visit and stay at Silicon Valley the trio found out their region reviewed risk taking and failure differently. Moreover, the trio even learned that it is necessary to have less hierarchal start up cultures while more compact communication (Jason, 2013).

Along with this, they even realized that the technology used at Silicon Valley is two to three years ahead as compared to Germany. The concept of digitalizing was moving ahead quite viciously at Silicon Valley. The three of them came to a conclusion that the company needed to change the business model and have to move on from the status quo business model.......................

This is just a sample partial case solution. Please place the order on the website to order your own originally done case solution.

Share This


Save Up To




Register now and save up to 30%.