Yep, that's how I recall, too. About the time Whitmore went out and Fisher came in, there was this campaign that Kodak was too insulated, too much of a "not invented here" mentality. This was in a WSJ article as well. Chandler was an engineer of some sort and I think Fallon was as well. The WSJ people said that Kodak "needed some quirky marketing types" and they had to "teach the elephant how to dance." So they started with this idea of NOT promoting from within with the intent of bringing in fresh blood. They wanted to try and grow through acquisitions, too, rather than invention. Again, to bring in some fresh blood. While that was a good idea to start, like many corporate fads, it went too far. No managers came from within and likewise, to move upwards you had to at least go elsewhere than where you were, if not outside the company. Slowly they built up a management force that didn't understand the peculiarities of the business, first at the corporate level and then down into the division level. Add to the that the 3 year cycle of RIFs and soon the best and the brightest that had no particular attachment to Rochester went elsewhere.
This link is a replay of a Fortune article from the time, just a little before my time at Kodak. Not the article I was looking for but, you can see where the pressure was starting for Kodak to conform to the world outside and dismiss with the "invented in Rochester" idea to try and impress Wall Street and chase after the analysts. So just a little historical background. Bringing in fresh blood is one thing, wholesale cleaning out the management ranks is another.
This is where I hope the UK folks will help out. as I said in my earlier post, I think outside the US there is more of an attitude of creating value, rather than just chasing the profit of the week. So although not everything might be understood about the structure of the business, I think all this KPP stuff is good news for the Kodak silver halide product lines.
All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.
Fallon coined the phrase "making the elephant dance" in terms of Kodak. But as you point out it went back a few years over what I mentioned. I've met Fallon, Chandler, Fischer,Carp and Kohrt personally. In fact, Carl Kohrt and I shared an office way back when, and his family and ours were great friends for many years.
(Parenthetical notes - One of his sons water ballooned one of our daughters at a family picnic at our home. Geez, wkat a day! Then his exchange student spilled a sugary drink on our furniture on another visit. What memories and fun!!!!! - Love ya Carl!, wherever you are. -vita meta-vegamin!)
It was sad to me that they promoted bean counters over such a great person.
It seems that they forget that what bean counters do is count beans that someone else created.
I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.
Originally Posted by lxdude
“You seek escape from pain. We seek the achievement of happiness. You exist for the sake of avoiding punishment. We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.” - John Galt
Yes, and they treat everything as if it were only a bean.
Originally Posted by lxdude
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The genuis of the bean-counter profession is that it steadily improves : the longer any bean counter is in charge, the less beans he needs to count!
LOL good one
Originally Posted by DREW WILEY
I'm sure Kodak has had to make the business terms with the UK Pension Fund pretty sweet, else the UK pension regulators will veto it. Kodak owes so much to the pension fund ($2.9 billion) that they probably have to do some deal of this sort or liquidate. The pension fund woudn't get the $2.9 billion in a liquidation, and the UK pension insurance fund would be left holding the basket, and it would leave that insurance fund broke. The pension fund is clearly a rather "senior" claimant on Kodak's assets, presumably due to UK laws.
So the sales of still picture film to the new UK pension fund company may well be very close to marginal cost, rather than average cost. That'd good for the cost structure of the still picture film company.
Nobody will ever replace Building 38 somewhere else, there's no way to get a positive return on investment on a new film coating plant.
Kodak doesn't want to sell Building 38 because something like 75 to 90% of it's sales are through Eastman to the movie industry. Their volume is falling due to digital projection (much less demand for print film), but they still want camera negative film, and they desperately want archive film, since they know that they can't store all their movie bits in digital form forever.
As for Ilford's receivership experience, it was primarily due to union contracts with a no-layoff provision. Going through receivership ended those terms. They are now right-sized from a manpower point of view.
Kodak doesn't have that problem, having always been a non-union company. But they were a non-union company by paying high salaries and having generous benefits, including "defined benefit" pension plans. Defined benefit pension plans are almost non-existent in the US outside local governments and (maybe) some of the auto industry. The ERISA regulations to make them safely funded made them so expensive that they caused them to be eliminated by the companies.
Having the new Kodak still film business based in Europe might lead to the limited re-release of E-6 films, since they are where the remaining market is, particularly in Germany.
But the new film business needs a new distribution strategy, the old one was based on having flim available everywhere, now they need to focus on efficient high-volume retailers. (Having more retail sales outlets than their competitors was how Kodak got to be a monopoly in the 1900 to 1960 era. Wholesale prices of film were fixed for all customers, meaning that every souvenir shop could carry Kodak film and not worry about being under-cut.)
Dolores Kruchten from Kodak Document Imaging on the sale to KPP:
Now it's time for the still film branch to utter their ideas...