Fortis: in the eye of the storm

This case is part of a case series and is available at The Case Centre with reference no. 414-077-1.

From the year 2007, the effects of the crisis that hit the financial sector were felt hard and painfully by many organisations. The Fortis Holding, a Belgian Dutch service provider in banking and insurance, was no exception.

The first part of the case starts with the historical decision to (partly) nationalise the activities of the Fortis holding by the Dutch, Luxemburg and Belgian state. The Belgian state in turn planned to transfer the banking and insurance activities to the French banking group, BNP Paribas.

Although the authors give some causes and context for this decision, throughout the case emphasis is placed on the various human consequences and emotions, triggered by the events. This is achieved by writing from the perspective of an HR manager within Fortis Bank Belgium, a smaller segment of the Fortis Holding. Those emotions are the source of the first problem definition of the case: How can you manage these emotions? This problem definition is specified by means of more detailed case-assignments that lead to the topics stress management, transition management and crisis communication.

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