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Turning Around KBC in 2009-2016 (A)

By Costas Markides, Daniel Oyon, Lisa Duke


This is part of a case series. The case describes the turnaround of the Belgian bank KBC under the leadership of Johan Thijs in the period 2009-2016. The case is made up of three parts – A, B and C. KBC (A) describes the situation in July 2009 when Johan This was promoted to Managing Director (MD) of the Belgian subsidiary, by far the biggest and most important unit within KBC Group. The timing is a bad one for the bank – it had just been rescued through a multibillion euro bailout by the Belgian government and the bank is on the verge of bankruptcy. Morale is at an all-time low, employees feel betrayed and are demotivated and the euro crisis is about to hit the European banking sector just when banks throughout Europe are trying to respond to the financial crisis of 2008. Johan Thijs inherits a total mess in Belgium and the case describes the facts he faces and asks the question: ‘What should he do in the Belgian Unit?’ At the same time to becoming MD of Belgium, he becomes member of the Groupā€™s Executive Committee (ExCo) and the case also raises the question: ‘What can Thijs do as a member of the ExCo to prevent the bankruptcy of KBC Group?’

Learning objectives

  1. How to turnaround a company on the verge of bankruptcy.
  2. How to achieve cultural transformation.
  3. How to win emotional commitment to your strategy.
  4. How to develop an organisational environment that supports your strategy.
  5. Making the transition to a digital future.


Publication Date: March 2018
LBS Case Code: CS-17-002
Subjects: , ,
Pages: 15
Format: pdf