What’s next for EFI as Guy Gecht steps down as CEO after 19 years in the role?
In what some might consider a surprise announcement, Electronics For Imaging, Inc. (EFI), announced on Monday, July 30 that its longtime CEO, Guy Gecht, had informed the Company’s Board of Directors that he intends to step down from his operating role at the Company when his successor is named. Spencer Stuart, a global executive search firm, is assisting the Board in a search process that includes internal and external candidates.
Gecht will continue to serve as CEO until his replacement is named and will work closely with the new CEO to ensure a successful transition, according to an EFI press release. He will also remain a member of the Board of Directors following the CEO change.
Gecht’s 19 years at the helm of EFI was an eventful run. Described by our own Frank Cannata as “a brilliant visionary and outstanding integrator,” every company acquired by EFI under Gecht’s watch was made better.
“They did in reverse what everybody in this business wants to do—end up with a business that is 50% hardware and 50% software—and that is where they are,” observed Frank in reaction to the news of Gecht’s departure. “Guy is an engineer and a very careful CEO. In my opinion it was a good time for him to step down.”
In Frank’s opinion, EFI has never been properly branded except for Fiery and he suggested the Board look for a new leader that is a true marketer who will exploit alternate channels of distribution.
“I am excited for the people at EFI who could use a promoter to broaden their offering,” he said.
The Cannata Report team has been attending EFI Connect, a print industry user conference that takes place in Las Vegas every January, pretty much since its inception nearly 20 years ago. That event certainly won’t be the same without Gecht’s charismatic presence leading the proceedings, punctuated by his engaging, educational, and entertaining fireside chats with print industry professionals. That said, should a new CEO be in place by then, we expect he or she will have a golden opportunity to place their own stamp on the proceedings and share their vision for the company with customers and partners.
Admittedly, Gecht will be a tough act to follow, but considering the company’s strength in the print market, it’s continued profitability, and broad range of hardware and software offerings, whoever takes over as CEO will have a strong foundation to build from.
The EFI press release issued late Monday afternoon, included comments from Gecht and Gill Cogan, Chairman of EFI’s Board.
“Stepping down as the leader of a great company is never an easy decision. With vast market opportunities, loyal customers and a robust product roadmap, reinforced by the unprecedented interest in Nozomi, EFI has never been better positioned for continued growth and success,” said Guy Gecht, CEO of EFI. “I think this makes it the right time, after 19 years as CEO of this unique company, for me to hand the reins to the next leader. I will stay fully focused on leading the outstanding EFI team during the search period and will assist in ensuring a smooth transition once the new CEO is in place. As a shareholder, Board member and a lifelong fan, nothing will be more gratifying for me than to see my successor leading EFI to achieve its full potential.”
“We are grateful for Guy’s 19 years as CEO of EFI,” said Gill Cogan, Chairman of EFI’s Board. “Together with his team, Guy transformed EFI from a single product line and OEM business model to a diverse, worldwide leader driving the transition from analog to on-demand digital imaging in industries that touch our lives every day. He led the expansion into Productivity Software and Industrial Inkjet, which drove EFI’s rapid growth to over $1 billion in annual revenues. Guy is only EFI’s third CEO in its 30-year history, which has brought a unique stability that the Board truly appreciates. As a global company with industry-leading technology and products, there is an unmatched opportunity for a new CEO to lead the charge in the years ahead.”
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