New CEO takes helm at Kodak

Kodak’s new chief executive has pledged to be “open, accountable and collaborative” in the role.

The group announced the appointment of Jeff Clarke to the top job yesterday.

Clarke’s background encompasses technology, corporate finance and business sale and flotation activities. He joins from private equity firm Augusta Columbia Capital where he was a managing partner and co-founder.

He was chief financial officer at Compaq prior to its merger with HP, and subsequently became HP’s executive vice president of global operations. He worked at HP from 2002-2003.

Kodak chairman James Continenza said Clarke’s skillset and business background made him the ideal man for the job: “His combination of strengths and experience in technology, transformation, finance, operations, and international business is precisely what we set out to find in the next leader of Kodak.”

In a video address to employees, Clarke said he would be embarking upon a worldwide tour over the coming months to evaluate Kodak’s current setup.

“I plan to travel and meet many of you during a detailed evaluations of our operations, our manufacturing, our marketing and our sales,” he stated.

“We’ll make our decisions based on data and what we learn from our customers.”

Clarke described his management style as “open, accountable and collaborative.”

Former CEO Antonio Perez becomes special adviser to the board as a result of Clarke’s appointment.

In an arrangement agreed prior to Kodak’s emergence from Chapter 11 in September 2013, Perez will continue to be employed for the remainder of his 12-month contract, and will then subsequently receive $1m (£600,000) per year during a two-year anti-compete period. 

Clarke’s base salary of $1m is 9% lower than Perez’s $1.1m. He can potentially double it if performance targets are met.

Kodak has previously forecast EBITDA of $200m on sales of $2.6bn this year.

Clarke has also been granted $4m in Kodak shares and stock options as part of his package.

The firm’s share price closed yesterday down 3¢ at $27.20.

Executive headhunters Egon Zender worked with Kodak on the recruitment process.

Separately, Kodak is embroiled in a legal battle with its former inkjet ink supply partner Collins Ink over Kodak’s policy of charging differing head refurbishment rates to customers who use third-party inks.

Collins claimed Kodak’s actions amounted to unfair competition.

A federal judge in Ohio has handed down a preliminary judgement banning Kodak from two-tier pricing.






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