On May 28th Kodak CMO Jeff Hayzlett will leave Kodak to pursue a television career. He has recently published a book, The Mirror Test: Is Your Business Really Breathing? His new television show is likely to be centered on offering business advice. Mr. Hayzlett has done a remarkable job in keeping Kodak relevant. The fact that he is leaving may be a signal that Kodak is again headed for troubled times. In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal http://bit.ly/bmu4DP it was noted that Kodak relies heavily on payments from intellectual property lawsuits to bolster revenue as it waits for the new initiatives to take hold. That does not strike me as an ideal business model.
Under Mr. Hayzlett, the company created the roles of Chief Listener and Chief Blogger and launched a social media team. Kodak also landed a central spot on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice, where viewers vote for their favorite Kodak Moment of each episode. Kodak also recently launched a new advertising campaign, emphasizing the “share” capability on its cameras, which allows users to post pictures directly to Facebook and other websites.
Having joined Kodak in April of 2006 as SMO and VP of Graphic Communications, Hayzlett was instrumental in helping Kodak gain a foothold in the digital printing marketplace. Competing with HP’s Indigo and Xerox iGen, Kodak’s NexPress is a very solid performer both for print resellers as well as Kodak.
I visited both Xerox and Kodak back in 2006 and toured their facilities when an associate asked me to help him decide which machine to purchase (the NexPress was $ 3.2 million at the time). I was more enamored with the Kodak technology than the Xerox but both platforms were impressive in their own right. And Rochester, NY is lovely in mid-March after all.
Moving into the digital printing arena was a smart move by Kodak. After all, Instamatic cameras were long gone, film cameras a novelty, and digital cameras were being relegated to special occasions as consumers increasingly used their phone or PDA cameras to take photos. So what’s the next play for Kodak? I would not consider the digital print marketplace to be rife with new opportunity.
Kodak CEO Antony Perez will not replace Mr. Hayzlett, who noted that in staying four years at Kodak it was the longest he had ever stayed in one spot. His resume while at Kodak will read well and I suspect he got out while the getting was good.
What kind of future do you think Kodak has?