ESSA: Who Do You Work For?
ESSA is a Colombian electricity utility company. Its origins date back to the late nineteenth century in the Department of Santander. Its history and evolution comprise various stages. After a first State-owned phase managed by Colombian government, the regional business group Empresas Pu blicas de Medelli n (EPM for its acronym in Spanish) acquired ESSA. EPM was characterized by a sound and successful corporate governance model. ESSA has always showed a deep-rooted sense of attachment to its local community (Santander), has therefore played an influential role and has had major engagement in the development of the Department of Santander. Its acquisition by a group from another Colombian region, Antioquia, confronts ESSA with a series of corporate governance dilemmas, visibly affecting daily management. The case offers the possibility of analyzing and discussing the decisions a general manager must make and the risks he must run when his personal criterion diverges from those of majority shareholders and the perceived interests of his stakeholders (critical dimension in a public utility company). Carlos Alberto Go mez, General Manager at ESSA (the leading character in this case), must analyze the outcome of a bidding process methodology he believes in, yet does not have the approval and full support from the parent company, EPM. He will also need to assess how to obtain financial support from ESSA to sustain and recover a regional icon: the Santander Theatre. The decision is not autonomous, as he must seek the approval from its parent headquarter located in a different department. Universidad de Los Andes' case collection