Case Study 5

Strategy implementation and leadership for Adelphia Communication Corporation

The challenge

A Fortune 500 broadband company experienced sudden devaluing of its stock causing an organizational crisis and complete change in senior leadership. With five million ongoing customers and an impending bankruptcy, the new leadership required on-hand expertise to help lead the organization through the crisis. I was called in to help stabilize the organization and guide it through fundamental change while it went through a highly-publicized bankruptcy.

What I did

My immediate focus was to provide the CEO and Chief Restructuring Officer with an organizational assessment and recommendations to move forward. This involved an organization of 14,000 employees in 500 locations across the U.S. and Latin America. The assessment was completed within one week and outlined specific challenges, risks, and priorities. Based on the assessment, I was asked serve on the corporate operating committee for the next 12 months to provide ongoing operational decisions and counsel while also addressing such specific challenges as implementing the new strategy throughout the organization, guiding both external and internal communications, identifying and retaining key employees, leading the strategy to counter a nationwide organizing campaign, and reducing non-staff costs by over $30 million annually. I led the overall organizational restructuring and implementation.


The company successfully continued operations under a new strategy, new organization structure and culture that changed the very centralized, managed and closely-controlled from corporate approach, to a decentralized structure emphasizing decision making close to the customer. While legal issues continued for years afterwards, the company’s operations were effectively led and managed so that the corporation could maintain operations in over 500 cable systems. The chairman of the board, the chief restructuring executive and the new CEO and COO were all pleased to have had the confidence in the change leadership expertise and the positive results in what might have been a far more difficult situation.

"Your upbeat spirit and can-do attitude, coupled with your outstanding professional skills, have clearly allowed this organization to weather a most difficult period of time. You should be proud of the contributions you have made. I can't tell you how much I have valued and appreciated your support and conscientious efforts; be assured they will never be forgotten."

Erland E. Kailbourne
Chairman & CEO Adelphia Communications Corp.

"Bob provided clear leadership to a large organization in real crisis. He did a superb job for Adelphia."

David Brunick
Senior Vice President Adelphia Communications Corp.