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 user 2009-10-02 at 2:05:35 pm Views: 71
  • #22833
    CEO Perez to stay at Kodak through 2013
    N.Y. — Eastman Kodak Co.’s chairman and chief executive, Antonio Perez,
    has agreed to remain at the helm through 2013, the photography products
    maker said Wednesday.Kodak shares, which have rallied from an all-time
    low of $2.01 in March, fell 10 cents, or 2 percent, to $4.85 in
    afternoon trading after trading as low as $4.69 earlier in the
    session.Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore said the drop reflects
    disappointment that, with Perez staying on, Kodak won’t be curtailing
    weighty investments in its money-losing inkjet printer businesses.
    “There’s some hope of a more significant strategy change and it doesn’t
    seem like we’re going to get that,” he said.

    Perez, a native of
    Spain who turns 64 in November, ran Hewlett-Packard Co.’s digital
    printing operations before moving to Kodak in 2003 and succeeding Dan
    Carp as CEO in June 2005.Kodak said its board amended Perez’s
    employment deal to reinforce a mutual intent that he remain in charge
    at least through Dec. 31, 2013. The agreement doesn’t have an
    expiration date but includes terms scheduled to expire in December 2010.

    128-year-old photographic film pioneer, battling to remodel itself in
    the digital age, is shedding 3,500 to 4,500 jobs this year, reducing
    its payroll to around 20,000 from a 1988 peak of 145,300. The economic
    downturn has cut deeply into sales of digital cameras, film and
    commercial printing products.”I am delighted by the opportunity to
    continue our work of achieving sustainable, profitable growth,” Perez
    said in a statement.Richard Braddock, presiding director of Kodak’s
    board, said Perez has taken Kodak through a historic transformation
    “that has created powerful new digital businesses along with a solid
    balance sheet. He and his team are taking the right actions to guide
    Kodak through this very challenging economic climate.”Kodak is
    investing heavily in digital printing businesses — consumer inkjet
    printers and high-speed commercial presses and software — while leaning
    on cash generated by motion-picture film, retailer kiosks and other
    high-margin products.

    Over the last week, it completed a $700
    million debt refinancing deal by giving two seats on its expanded
    14-member board to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. The private equity
    fund spend $300 million on Kodak notes due in 2017 and warrants to
    purchase 40 million Kodak shares at $5.50 a share.Whitmore said
    investor worries revolve around dashed hopes that Kodak might move
    toward “maybe a less aggressive growth strategy in inkjet, commercial
    printing, digital cameras and the like … product lines that have yet
    to generate any real signs of return. Kodak doesn’t have a lot of cash.
    The cash generated from the film business has been more than offset by
    cash burned in those other products.”

    In April, Kodak scrapped
    its 25-cent semiannual dividend and trimmed the salaries of top
    executives by 10 percent.Perez, whose base salary of nearly $1.1
    million hasn’t changed since 2005, took a 15 percent salary cut of
    about $107,500 for the balance of 2009. He got no performance-based
    bonus or stock awards last year and drew compensation valued at $2.1
    million, down 81 percent from the $11.7 million he received in 2007.