Global oil company executive
shares experience with students


As a young Conoco executive in the late 1960s, Franz Ehrhardt, now a professional fellow at Texas A&M’s College of Architecture, came up with an idea taken for granted today — merging the gas station and the convenience store — a concept that eventually helped save Conoco’s German holdings and kicked off his 32-year career with the company.

Through Ehrhardt’s fellowship, students in two classes at the college are learning about the advantages of his unconventional, innovative strategies and approaches, techniques he developed based on his executive experience.

Conoco, encountering problems in Germany it considered insurmountable, was preparing to sell its holdings, but decided to give Ehrhardt, a promising, young oil executive, a chance to turn things around.

Ehrhardt was offered an opportunity — succeed in making the company’s German holdings profitable and he’d have a lifetime position with Conoco, or fail and he’d be shown the door. It was a task that had previously stumped other company executives who hadn’t considered Ehrhardt’s approach.

“His plan was an idea that hadn’t existed before,” said Rodney Hill, professor of architecture, who, along with Jorge Vanegas, dean of the college and professor of architecture, leads the Decision Process class, where Ehrhardt is a guest lecturer.

The multilingual Ehrhardt, now CEO of CASCA Consulting L.L.C., shares ideas that help students as they spark, explore, discover and develop their creative problem-solving abilities and entrepreneurial spirit, both individually and in multidisciplinary teams.

He also lectures to students in Hill’s Global Ethics, Culture and Practice class, in which students learn the myriad customs throughout the world that can make or break business deals.

At Conoco, Ehrhardt held various international executive management positions in many countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Union. His last post at the company was president of Conoco EurAsia based in Istanbul, Turkey.

At CASCA, Ehrhardt shows clients, located throughout the world, how to address problems in the business world through innovative strategy formulation and implementation for a wide range of industries and non-profit organizations with the focus on creating a sustainable competitive advantage.


— Posted: August 12, 2011—

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Contact:   Phillip Rollfing, or 979.458.0442.


Franz Ehrhardt

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