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July 21, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:54pm

CEO FISHER SAYS HE’S COMMITTED TO KODAK AND NEW PRODUCTS

By CBR Staff Writer

After much speculation that CEO George Fisher might jump ship to take the reins at AT&T Corp, the Eastman Kodak Co chief issued a statement that he intends to stay put until the end of 2000, when his contract is due to expire. Fisher said he wished to make it clear in the strongest terms that he will not leave Kodak until his work there is done. Presumably that means realizing a return on the company’s investment in its digital product lines. Kodak is having big trouble getting its new digital products off the ground and the company’s second-quarter results, announced last Wednesday, suffered because of it. Net income slid 4% to $368m, or $1.12 per share on revenue that fell 6% to $3.85bn. Kodak’s digital products include cameras, scanners, printers, writeable CDs and image manipulation software. These areas are what Kodak calls its emerging markets and, as losses in this sector deepened, the company admitted to continuing problems in executing its business plans. But Kodak refuses to back away from the digital arena and, at the half way stage, the company is warning investors that continued strategic investment in digital products will make it difficult for the company to improve its full-year earnings per share over the 1996 figures. Despite Fisher’s assurances that the company is taking a long-term view on the digital market, he is aware of the need for short-term improvements, and company units are expected to accelerate their cost reduction programs. In an effort to retain market share Kodak has said it may cut some US film prices by 5% or more this year.

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