Emeritus Professor Paul Strebel

Emeritus Professor Paul Strebel

Paul Strebel has been working with boards of directors and top management teams as an educator and advisor for more than 35 years on strategic vision and the resolution of boardroom conflicts. In addition to personal experience as a board director, he has facilitated highly interactive workshops and seminars on best in-class boards and strategic breakthroughs for more than 50 multinationals in Europe, U.S., South Africa, the Middle East and S.E. Asia.

He has made important contributions to management practice in four different areas:

Together with Xavier Gilbert, he developed the concept of outpacing business strategies: companies shouldn’t opt exclusively for low delivered cost, or high perceived value, but rather deploy them in sequence to drive the industry’s evolution and beat the competition.

To make organizational change effective, management must understand why employees resist change: management must take account of the forces of change and resistance and offer employees tailored compacts, involving economic rewards, psychological safety and a supportive social culture.

For board directors, he developed the concept of contingent governance: highlighting four roles of the board, based on support and control, and how the board should shift focus between the roles to deal with internal and external challenges.

To make stakeholder capitalism work, executives must reconcile shareholders with other stakeholders, by focusing rigorously on creating long-term shareholder value and distinguishing between stakeholders: they must mobilize value creating stakeholders with a shared purpose and win-win initiatives, while avoiding the value-destroying traps and ESG risks associated with the others.

Professor Strebel has twice received the Award for Research on Leadership from the Association of Executive Search Consultants and has won several case study awards from the European Foundation for Management Development. He has published articles in the MIT Sloan Management Review, Harvard Business Review, California Management Review, Strategic Management Journal, Long Range Planning, among numerous others and has contributed on governance issues to the business press.

Paul Strebel's books include, Breakpoints: How Managers Exploit Radical Business Change (Harvard Business School Press); The Change Pact: Building Commitment to Ongoing Change (FT Prentice Hall); Trajectory Management: Leading a Business over Time (Wiley); Smart Big Moves: The Story Behind Strategic Breakthroughs (FT Prentice Hall). He is the co-editor of IMD's guidebook on Mastering Executive Education: How to Combine Content with Context and Emotion (FT Prentice Hall)

Professor Strebel was IMD’s first Director of Research, held the Sandoz Family Foundation Chair in Strategic Change Management, sponsored the introduction of IMD’s Executive MBA program, directed several of IMD’s open and company-specific executive development programs, and developed the highly successful IMD online program, Strategic Thinking.

Prior to joining IMEDE, one of the two founding institutes of IMD, he was Chairman of the Finance and Economics Group at the State University of New York in Binghamton, Director of the MBA Program at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and on the financial staff of W.R. Grace & Co.

He was educated at the University of Cape Town where he was awarded a Master of Science degree for a thesis in nuclear chemistry, graduated from Columbia University in New York with an MBA specializing in finance, and received his doctorate with a dissertation in chemical physics from Princeton University.

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Paul Strebel's Publications
Redefine stakeholder capitalism for real impact with three guiding principles
How and why you should distinguish between stakeholders
COVID-19 is turning the tables on short-term shareholders