The board of directors of Eastman Kodak Company on 20 February announced the appointment of Jim Continenza as the company’s new executive chairman, effective immediately. Continenza, who has served as chairman of Kodak’s board of directors since 2013, will continue as board chairman while also assuming the responsibilities of Jeffrey J. Clarke, who is stepping down after nearly five years as chief executive officer.
Continenza, has led the company’s efforts to improve its capital structure, execute strategic M&A transactions and drive investment in growth engines. He brings robust experience and a proven track record guiding several leading, innovative technology companies through transformations.
Continenza said, “I am thrilled to build upon our board’s strategic vision and become an integral part of day-to-day operations as the company continues to execute on its previously announced initiatives. Importantly, I look forward to helping Kodak build long-term value for shareholders as we continue to deleverage our balance sheet, increase operational efficiencies, and maximize the potential of our key growth drivers. I’d like to thank Jeff for his strong leadership and I’m optimistic about the future of Kodak given our team, our assets and the opportunities ahead.”
Kodak’s leadership team and the board will continue to focus on the company’s current strategic initiatives, which include – executing on the sale of the Flexographic Packaging Division (FPD), a business that has demonstrated high growth; completing efficiency actions expected to result in USD 40 million of annualized savings and improved liquidity; driving Kodak’s key growth areas of SONORA Process-Free Plates, enterprise inkjet, workflow software and brand licensing, while continuing to maximize value in print systems, film and advanced materials; and commitment to growth in motion picture film, having seen 32 Oscar nominations for films shot on film in 2019.
Former CEO Jeffrey J. Clarke said, “It was a privilege to lead Kodak during a time of transition and am pleased to leave the company in a position of strength after the execution of the agreement to sell our Flexographic Packaging Division. The Board and I mutually agreed that now is the time to hand the reins to new leadership, and I am confident that Jim is the right leader to take the Company to the next phase of its transformation.”
Clarke will be available to Continenza and the board to ensure a smooth transition.
Continenza currently serves as chairman of the board of Merrill Corporation, LLC and Sorenson Communications LLC. He also serves on the board of directors of Nextel International, Inc. Continenza is also the founder, chairman and CEO of Vivial Inc., a privately held marketing technology and communications company. Continenza was previously chairman of the board of Tembec Inc., Neff Rental, LLC, Aventine Renewable Energy, Inc., Southwest Georgia Ethanol, LLC, BioFuel Energy Corporation, and Portola Packaging, Inc. He also previously served on the board of directors for Hawkeye Renewables, Blaze Recycling, LLC, Anchor Glass Container Corporation, Rath-Gibson Inc., Rural Cellular Corporation, U.S.A. Mobility, Inc., MAXIM Crane Works, Inc., Arch Wireless, Inc., Broadview Networks, LLC, Teligent, Inc. and Microcell Telecommunications, Inc.
Clarke’s seat on the board will be filled by Phillippe D. Katz, newly appointed director of Kodak. Katz has served as partner at the investment firm of United Equities Commodities Company since 1996. He also sits on the board of directors of Berkshire Bancorp, Inc. and several private company boards.