Marinella Soldi at Discovery Inc. (A)
In May 2010, a year after becoming President and Managing Director for Southern Europe at Discovery Inc., Marinella Soldi faces a make-or-break meeting with Discovery's global Executive Committee. Her region is about to lose half of its revenues in a contract renegotiation with Sky Italia. Hired from outside the organization with a mandate to turn the region around, Soldi energizes the local team and proposes a new strategy that involves bypassing Sky's content distribution and broadcasting some channels through Digital Terrestrial Television. The move represents a radical change to Discovery's business model, from B2B to B2C, and means abandoning the partners with whom Discovery has grown into a global business. This implies not only a digital transformation but changing the corporate culture. This case illustrates the interplay between digital transformation, talent management, and efforts to encourage diversity and inclusion. The focus is on challenging the distinction between strategic and cultural change. To change business strategy often involves confronting cultural assumptions and biases that keep legacy strategies in place. External hires, up-and-coming talent and members of minority groups are seen as more able to do something different, because they are different and unencumbered by established traditions. Yet because they are different they are subjected to stronger scrutiny and push-back. Despite being hired to confront longstanding traditions, they are pressured to conform to them.