About Ralf Gerbershagen

Ralf Gerbershagen was named Chief Executive Officer of Kodak Alaris Holdings Limited, effective April 1, 2014, where he will complete the new company structure and lead the ongoing transformation of the Kodak Alaris business worldwide. Previously, Mr. Gerbershagen was MD of Motorola GmbH since January 1, 2007, and in addition, he was appointed Vice President & General Manager Europe for Mobile Devices on May 1, 2009. Prior to this appointment, he held a number of international management roles, including General Manager of the European Paging Subscriber Division (EMEA), General Manager for the Consumer Business Group (applications, accessories, e-commerce, call center management), and Vice President Sales Europe Mobile Devices. Educated in General Electronics & Computer Science at the University of Bingen, Mr. Gerbershagen started his professional career with Siemens AG where he held global responsibility for the Power Capacitors business. As Export Sales Manager at Siemens & Matsushita, he was in charge of the Passive Components & Electron Tubes business for various regions, and moved to Motorola in 1995. Mr. Gerbershagen is a member of the BITKOM Board of Directors, the CeBit Advisory Board, the Board of Directors at the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany and Kodak Alaris Holdings Limited.

Answering your questions from LinkedIn

It has been a little more than a month since I began my responsibilities as Kodak Alaris’ Chief Executive Officer. So that I could immediately connect with you at that time, I invited you to ask me questions via a LinkedIn post on Kodak Alaris’ company page.

To provide you with answers, I’m posting this blog so that everyone can see the Q&A in an easy-to-follow format. Please let me know if you have any more questions for me or feedback.

Thank you for engaging with me on LinkedIn.

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Alex Wellman: I appreciate that you were able to use the principles of economies of scale to create a company that still produces value from traditional products while also continuing to innovate. This is an extremely admirable trait for any company. Do you have any jobs available?

Ralf Gerbershagen: Thanks for your feedback, Alex. Yes, we do have positions available. You can visit our career center, if you’re interested. The address is http://www.kodak.com/ek/US/en/Career_Opportunities.htm. You can learn more about Kodak Alaris there too.

 

Peter George: Kodak’s huge investment in analogue photography in the past meant that when digital came the rate of change was so fast they could not react in time. Has Kodak Alaris taken this on board and will it be an innovator once again? If so what disruptive technologies do you foresee Kodak pioneering in the future?

RG: Appreciate the question, Peter. My passions include driving long-term growth by way of innovation, empowerment, and accountability. And those passions are behind everything I want to do for Kodak Alaris and our customers to enable success for all.

I am looking at the whole company at the moment and how we can expand. There are huge opportunities here. In Personalized Imaging (PI), we have more than 100,000 kiosks worldwide, with strong retail channels. In social networks, there are millions and millions of pictures that people never dig out. Our charter is to look into this and see how we can get people closer to the pictures they have, how we can get all the pictures of their lives back in front of them, and what method would we develop On the Document Imaging (DI) side, there’s tremendous opportunity as well. That business is focused on the traditional software and scanner business to do document capturing and data capturing. We have licensed software that allows us to migrate from just data capturing. The scanner scans it, the software reads it, knows what it is, and then feeds it to the entire company where the document needs to go. We’re going from data capture to intelligent document management. This is an emerging market and a significant opportunity for the DI business around the world.

 

Document Imaging

Jeff Underwood: What are your plans for future photo scanning products?

RG:We constantly review the needs and desires of our customers. For instance, we just released drivers that allow our Photo Scanning Systems (PS50 and PS80) to be directly driven from popular Mac-based applications. Also, we released new Application Software versions at the end of 2013 for the PS50, PS55, and PS80.
Personalized Imaging

Matt Whitman: There are many, many artists and filmmakers – not just older ones but young, emerging, and mid career – whose work specifically requires the use of film for capturing and/or exhibition images as opposed to a digital means (just as a painter might require oil-based paints rather than water-based paints in order to successful create their work). Do you see film – both motion picture and photographic – as being a sustainable part of Kodak Alaris’ future?

RG: The Motion Picture business is still owned by the Eastman Kodak Company—a company that is separate from Kodak Alaris.

Film Capture is part of Kodak Alaris’ Personalized Imaging business, offering consumers and professionals an award-winning range of still-camera film products. We plan to stay in the film business as long as there’s a profitable market. Film is still in demand. We’re happy to provide it … as long as it makes sense for us. At the moment, it makes sense for us.

 

Heikki Repo: In the past years Kodak was known for somewhat rigid approach to distribution of products here in Europe. In many cases it has been almost impossible for smaller dealers to obtain Kodak products. What is your policy on this? Do you have plans to make it easier for small businesses to cooperate with Kodak Alaris in order to have your pro films more widely available? My question stems partly from a recent experience of a fellow photographer here in Finland who has been interested in taking Kodak Alaris pro films product range to his online store but thus far has been unable to reach anyone to discuss this business opportunity. My best wishes to you and thanks for your excellent products!

RG: Hi, Heikki. Here is contact information for our distributor who covers is Finland. Please connect with them. Thank you.

Andris Dementjevs
Kodak key account manager
Poligrafijas apgads SIA
15 Lejupes street, Riga, LV-1076
Tel: +371 67551833
Mob: +371 26434821
Fax: +371 67551850
e-mail: mailto:andris.dementjevs@polap.lv

 

Timothy Brown: Many of us miss the look and connection to history we felt when taking pictures using Kodak’s old still photography stocks: Kodachrome, Plus-X, etc. Are there any plans to bring some of these older stocks back? Also, the photography community has had something of a back-to-basics moment: Ilford, lomography, and the Impossible Project have all tried to tap into a growing enthusiasm over film photography, classic cameras, and experimental photographic methods. Will Kodak Alaris follow suit and try to (further) integrate itself into the film photography community

RG: The key message to all the film shooters out there is that our full range of photographic films continues to be available. Any decisions we’ve made in the past to drop a particular product were driven by changes in user preferences and/or digital substitution, resulting in substantial fall off in demand.   There is not much point in continuing to make a product that no one is buying in reasonable quantity.   Don’t forget that as we trimmed some of our portfolio, we also continued to optimize many of our films (PORTRA, T-MAX 400) and also added a new one, the very innovative EKTAR 100.

 

“Stone” Robert A Stone III: If Fuji stops producing E6 film, would you consider re-introducing E100G?

RG: The decision to discontinue the manufacture and sale of our EKTACHROME films was a very difficult one. It was based on a steady decrease in demand and customer usage, coupled with a highly complex product formulation and manufacturing process. This conclusion was reached more than two (2) years ago. At this point in time, it would not be practical to try to bring these products back to market.

 

Tom Ribaudo: Can Kodak Alaris sustain color still film production if Hollywood movies are made exclusively digital?

RG:Our award-winning portfolio of consumer and professional films are manufactured in Eastman Kodak’s world-class film factory via a supply agreement. Kodak Alaris remains committed to the film capture business and has the ability to meet the needs of our customers for the foreseeable future

 

William Hogue: Would you consider appointing an official liaison to this group: https://www.flickr.com/groups/ishootfilm/members/ ?

RG: A number of our team members review the forums (APUG, Flickr, etc.) regularly. We respond as often as we can.

 

William Hogue: Do you think it would be possible to downsize production while returning a few products to production, even if only periodically? I am thinking for example of the excellent but under-appreciated ProFotoXL 100 in 135 or 120 format.

RG: Decisions we’ve made in the past to discontinue particular films were driven by changes in user preferences and/or digital substitution, resulting in a substantial fall off in sales.   These discontinued products are more than adequately replaced by the films that Kodak Alaris offers today, which are the very best that Kodak has ever produced.

 

Samuel Davis: Is research and development into new/improved emulsions continuing, or is Kodak Alaris sticking to the emulsions it already has?

RG:Our current product portfolio delivers the very best films available in the world today. In fact, these are the best films that the company has ever produced.   No improvements are necessary.

 

John Mosey: Is there any chance of your company bringing back transparency films such as Ektachrome and black and white films such as Panatomic-X and Plus-X Pan? Thanks in advance for your answer.

RG: The decision to discontinue the manufacture and sale of our EKTACHROME films was a very difficult one. It was based on a steady decrease in demand and customer usage, coupled with a highly complex product formulation and manufacturing process. This conclusion was reached more than two (2) years ago. At this point in time, it would not be practical to try to bring these products back to market.

Many of those older black and white films, in addition to declining sales, were also impacted by changing HSE requirements.   And to be fair, they were more than adequately replaced by the black and white films that Kodak Alaris offers today, which are the very best that the company has ever produced.

Thank you again for your questions. If you missed the opportunity to write to me on LinkedIn, please submit your questions on this blog.

I’m looking forward to Kodak Alaris’ bright future—a future of winning together with our customers, partners, suppliers, and employees.

Ralf

 

A future of winning together – Ralf Gerbershagen, CEO, Kodak Alaris

This is an exciting week for me as I begin my new responsibilities. I am honored to lead a billion-dollar startup company that has so much growth opportunity. Kodak Alaris’ great customer profile, strong teams, profitable products and solutions, and fresh start make it an incredible company.

To our customers, thank you for trusting Kodak Alaris with your business. Your loyalty means everything to us. It fuels success for both your business and ours, and we look forward to engaging with you more.

For some background about me, my passions include driving long-term growth by way of innovation, empowerment, and accountability. And those passions are behind everything I want to do for Kodak Alaris and our customers to enable success for all.

During the next few months, I will begin travelling to meet with customers, partners, distributors, suppliers, and employees. I welcome your questions and comments, so please write to me at ceo@kodakalaris.com if you would like to connect. I value open and honest communication.

We have much to be proud of during our seven months as Kodak Alaris and, at the same time, much to accomplish. I’m excited about our future of winning together. Thank you for your ongoing support. We are honored to work with you now and for many years to come.

Ralf