This case set follows Alex Stewart, who has built and runs a green energy development firm in the United States. After finding success finding and using underutilized rooftops to erect solar panels and wind turbines in major US cities where the existing power grid couldn’t meet growing demand, Stewart is now looking for similar opportunities in Europe having spent the last two years doing research, forming the necessary networks and partnerships, and beginning the long process of due diligence and negotiations with countless public and private stakeholders. However, a person who had become Stewart’s major competitor (someone he had shared the idea with because he assumed this person had no intention to do anything) has begun to show up either before or right after his team’s meetings with local officials as a competing bidder. After this happened in three separate countries, Stewart knew he had a big problem on his hands. He hired an internationally renowned security firm, who advised him that while there were likely several sources to the leaks, including phone tapping and office bugging, the most certain one was the nightly trash.
Students are asked to read the case—which describes a (disguised) situation that actually occurred—in class and immediately write down their thoughts about what Stewart should do, starting with whom he should (or should not) approach for advice. The handout contains the second part of the case and presents a difficult conversation between Stewart and his wife about what to do next.