Governance and Control at AXA

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR224
Case Length : 18 Pages
Period : 1991-2006
Organization : AXA Group
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : France
Industry : Insurance and investment management

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Going Global

In 1991, AXA formulated a vision of becoming a global company. According to Bébéar, "To become a multinational, an enterprise must outgrow the very notion of nationality: all its entities, whatever their market, its employees, whatever their nationality, must be dealt with on equal terms and must pursue one single identical object: the considered interest of the whole enterprise."

At that time, the total revenues of AXA were €8.1 billion, with France accounting for a total share of 60%, followed by the rest of Europe with 30.2%, Canada with 0.5%, and revenues from reinsurance at 9.3%...

The AXA Board

AXA had achieved much of its growth through various mergers and acquisitions over a period of two decades. Its acquisitions brought several companies into its fold. These resulted in complex holding structures and companies under different names in different countries. The products and processes too differed from country to country. Bébéar wanted to make AXA a truly global company rather than letting it remain a French company with several international subsidiaries.

To achieve the objective of becoming a global company, there were several management issues that AXA had to face. These included cultural and communication issues, legal compliance, capital allocation, and integrating people and processes.

AXA operated in many countries across the world and had to take into account several kinds of statutory, regulatory and legal, systems and accounting and tax systems as these differed from country to country. AXA firmly believed that in order to reduce the complexity of its operations, it needed to stick to a single business model of financial protection...

AXA - Centralizing Business Functions

Though AXA aimed at becoming a decentralized organization, it felt it was necessary to centralize some functions in order to achieve better synergy and coordination. AXA centralized functions like procurement and technology services...

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