The collapse of Fortis was a landmark in the financial crisis back in 2008. A top 5 European group in banking and insurance, undisputed market leader in Belgium, it apparently fell victim of the credit crunch that followed the fall of Lehman Brothers… but also as a result of errors poorly managed.
The Fortis story, viewed from the offices of the top executives, is now a teaching case available at the Case Centre (ref 317-0014-1). Dr. Vincent Giolito investigated it at the Baillet Latour Chair on Error Management with a number of interviews as well as official reports and judgments.
The abstract reads as follows
How to manage strategic errors? The Fortis case presents students a complex situation in which top executives at a major Belgian bank had to navigate the consequences of a major strategic decision, the acquisition of a rival almost its size, at a time when the financial crisis was brewing. The Fortis case helps students delineate organizational errors and strategic errors. More importantly, it provides with insights from research about how to act when errors occur.
Intended for MBA and Masters students, we teach the Fortis case in our Strategy courses at Solvay BS-EM in modules on strategy implementation. And naturally it features in the Strategic Error Management course.