Eastman Kodak named business technology veteran Jeff Clarke CEO and gave him a mandate to transform the company into a "global B2B technology leader."
Kodak, recently emerged from bankruptcy, has revamped, shed debt and is hoping to take its intellectual property to commercial printing, packaging, and services. Competitors for the new enterprise-focused Kodak would be players such as Lexmark, Hewlett-Packard, Canon, and Xerox.
Clarke is well known in the B2B technology space. Before Kodak, Clarke was managing partner at Augusta Columbia Capital, a private equity firm he started to invest in tech companies. He was also chairman of Travelport, a company he led as CEO from 2006 to 2011 before selling it to Cendant. Clarke was also chief operating officer at CA from 2004 to 2006 as well as executive vice president at Hewlett-Packard from 2002 to 2003. Clarke was also a key player in HP's acquisition of Compaq, where he was chief financial officer.
For Kodak, Clarke gives the company some enterprise chops, contacts, and a higher profile for a bit. Clarke said he will first go on a listening tour and then figure out the company's next steps.
Before Kodak's bankruptcy, the company's annual revenue fell from $9.42 billion in 2008 to $4.11 billion in 2012. For the first nine months of 2013, Kodak reported net income of $2 billion on revenue of $1.74 billion. Those gains reflected the company's bankruptcy reorg. Kodak emerged from bankruptcy in September 2013 and listed on the New York Stock Exchange in October.
In a statement Clarke added:
This enterprise has some extraordinary opportunities, especially those presented by the company’s proprietary technology in commercial printing, packaging and functional printing. Kodak has made excellent progress, building on one of the most successful reorganizations in recent years, and I look forward to continuing the work underway in transforming Kodak into a global B2B technology leader.
Kodak's biggest challenge will be emerging from a reorganization for 20 months and convincing enterprise customers to make long-term bets on the company. Clarke's expertise will help the cause, but Kodak will have to prove itself in the field.
Clarke will get an annual base salary of $1 million a year, a grant of $3 million in restricted stock units, and an incentive plan.