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Jeffery J. Clarke steps down as Kodak CEO

The chairman of the board of Eastman Kodak Co., Jim Continenza, has become executive chairman, a title merging the duties of board chairman and chief executive officer.

The board announced Wednesday evening that Continenza will assume the duties held by CEO Jeffery J. Clarke for the last five years. Clarke will leave the company, but remain available to help with the transition.  

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,” Continenza said in a statement about the change. “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.”

Continenza, 56, also serves as board chairman of Merrill Corporation LLC and Sorenson Communications LLC.  Further, he is chairman and CEO of the marketing technology and communications company he founded, Vivial Inc.

Kodak described Continenza as having “robust experience and a proven track record guiding several leading, innovative technology companies through transformations.”

The initiatives Continenza referenced include:

  • Completing the sale of Kodak’s Flexographic Packaging Division
  • Completing efficiency measures to save $40 million a year and add to liquidity
  • Growing SONORA Process-Free Plates, enterprise inkjet, workflow software and brand licensing, and
  • Growing the motion picture division; the company noted 32 Oscar nominations this year were earned by films shot on Kodak film.

Phillippe D. Katz, newly appointed director of Kodak, will take Clarke’s seat on the board of directors.  Katz has been a partner at investment firm United Equities Commodities Co. since 1996. He also sits on the board of Berkshire Bancorp, Inc. and several private companies.

Clarke said in the company’s statement: “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.”

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