2 April 2014
Kodak today is like a start-up, says CEO
TORONTO—Kodak is like at start-up, Jeff Clarke, the newly appointed company CEO said during a media briefing to the trade press and analysts yesterday. But, he added, it benefits from technology that will transform markets, a recognized brand, R&D heft, and a large customer base.

In expanding on the theme, Clarke said Kodak is very different company than it was two to three years ago. There's a new board at the helm, a new investor base, and a slimmed down staff of 8,000, compared to 80,000 in the past.

His focus, he said, will be on organic growth and to that end, Kodak is ready to plow $90 million into R&D and $50 million in capital expenditures by year end. Most of the R&D will be channeled to functional printing, the area Clarke identified as having the most growth potential going forward. "We're going from zero to an active market," he said.

But he also pointed out that the graphic arts business has been and will remain a key strategic area. He pointed to the success of the the chem-free Sonora plate, the Prosper line, and the robust software portfolio. Clarke shared that projections are for Kodak to double the install base of the Prosper inkjet system to 40 worldwide by the end of the year.

Asked about rebuilding the Kodak brand, Clarke allowed that while he felt the company still carried cachet and stands for innovation, there is work to be done to enhance the brand value among younger generation. "To printers, Kodak still means quality and innovation. My job is to try to keep the trains running on time."

He sees a great base at Kodak, including innovation, quality, and deep manufacturing ability, but to that he'd like to add a track record to sustainability and environmental stewardship in several areas of the company.

Prior to joining Kodak, Clarke was a managing partner of Augusta Columbia Capital (ACC), an investment firm focused on technology-enabled businesses that he co-founded in 2012. Prior to ACC, he served as CEO of Travelport, a private travel technology firm from 2006-2011. During his tenure, Travelport launched an IPO for its Orbitz business. His background also includes time at HP from 2002-2003, which he joined after leading the merger with Compaq Computer, where he was chief financial officer.
1. Former Customer says:
4 April 2014 at 9:22 AM
We used to buy everything from Kodak. Workflow, Plates, CTP, Proofers etc. Now we buy nothing. Very simple reason for this. They fired all the best people. Service was totally gutted. Even the response centre was moved from Vancouver. Was world class when it was in Vancouver. Now not so much. We are one of the Largest Printers in the country and no sales rep from Kodak has called on us in over 2 years. The current business model is not working.
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