Change at the Top for Kodak Alaris
A week after announcing a restructuring of the sales management team at Kodak Alaris Information Management (IM), Kodak Alaris announced it is looking for a new CEO. In an announcement we received today, Kodak Alaris states, “To better position ourselves to achieve our long term growth plans, the Kodak Alaris Holdings Ltd. Board of Directors decided the time is right to initiate a search for a new CEO.”
Effective May 1, Ralf Gerbershagen, who was named CEO of Kodak Alaris in 2014, has stepped down. According to statement DIR received from Kodak Alaris: “Today’s announcement is about looking forward. This was not a performance based decision but more an assessment of the future leadership needs of Kodak Alaris. The Board felt this represented the ideal time to begin the new search for a CEO. [Gerbershagen] leaves the company better positioned than when he arrived and with our best wishes for his future.”
Kodak Alaris was launched in September 2013, with the sale of Kodak Document Imaging (now IM) and Kodak Personal Imaging to the Kodak UK Pension Fund for a combination of $2.8 billion in debt relief and $650 million in cash and non-cash considerations. The sale was part of the bankruptcy proceedings for Eastman Kodak.
Gerbershagen, who is based in the UK, was brought in from Motorola Mobility in April, 2014. During his tenure, Kodak Alaris reportedly saw a strong rebound in its scanner sales (which had been negatively affected by the uncertainty related to the bankruptcy proceedings). Kodak Alaris was less successful with its intelligent document recognition (IDR) initiative. After signing a partnership with German ISV ITyX in 2012 and struggling to generate sales momentum, in 2015 Kodak Alaris launched a subsidiary, AI Foundry, which is totally focused on IDR sales. However, shortly after the launch of AI Foundry, Kodak Alaris broke off its relationship with ITyX, which then filed suit.
According to Alan Swahn, VP, marketing for AI Foundry, in an e-mail to DIR last month, “We are working with other suppliers that more closely align with new opportunities in the marketplace. We are working on exciting new solutions and you can expect announcements later this year.”
Jeff Goodman has been appointed as Kodak Alaris’ CEO on an interim basis. Goodman had been serving as COO. Kodak Alaris has not set a timetable for hiring a new CEO. Following is a statement form Kodak Alaris: “We are looking for an outstanding and inspirational leader with a proven global track record of identifying and driving long term profitable growth for large international companies.
“As we need to conduct a comprehensive search for our next CEO, we don’t have a specific timetable. Jeff’s presence, combined with the company being in a solid place, allows our board to conduct a thorough search for our next CEO. Jeff is committed to filling this role until we find our new CEO and will support his/her transition to the role.”
We asked a Kodak Alaris representative if the organization’s goals have changed since Gerbershagen was brought in two years ago. Here was the reply: “We continue to transform the company and our current focus has shifted from restructuring to growth. Our plans and our ongoing programs, developed by the Kodak Alaris Executive Committee (of which Jeff was and is a part) and approved by our Board, remain unchanged and have our absolute focus and commitment.”