Benjamin Millepied at the Paris Opera Ballet
In December 2015, barely one year into his tenure as the head of the Paris Opera Ballet (POB), celebrity dancer, choreographer, and entrepreneur Benjamin Millepied was caught in a storm of controversy. Hired to bring energy and modernity to one of France's oldest artistic institutions, Millepied laid out an inspiring vision of renewal and a strategy focused on developing new talent and enhancing the POB's social relevance and global visibility. In the process, however, he created turmoil. Promoting younger dancers in defiance of the established hierarchy, advocating diversity and social engagement, presenting the work of American choreographers instead of French classics, and openly criticizing the POB's restrained style pit Millepied against the established order . The case chronicles Millepied's efforts to transform the POB, focusing on the interplay between responsible leadership and organizational culture. Most organizations seek to balance business goals with social impact, urging employees to be inspiring and innovative, and bringing in outsiders with a "global" outlook to shake up "local" mind-sets. The case explores a fundamental issue for such endeavors to succeed: Responsible leadership entails more than a compelling vision. It also means sustaining a strong institutional culture while fostering diversity and innovation.