Global 3D printing and 3D printer manufacturing leader 3D Systems has finally announced their replacement for former CEO Avi Reichental, who stepped down last October amidst plummeting stock prices and controversy. Effective immediately Vyomesh Joshi (VJ) has been named as the company’s new President and CEO by the 3D Systems board. VJ will replace Interim-President and CEO Andy Johnson, who will stay with 3D Systems as 3D Systems’ Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer. The appointment comes after the role was vacant for nearly six months, and at a crucial time for the company that seems to be trying to redefine its role within the industry.
VJ is a former Vice President of Imaging and Printing at Hewlett Packard and is widely regarded as responsible for doubling the struggling printing business’ operating profits during the 11-year period that he was with the company. After the closing down of 3D Systems Cube line of desktop 3D printers and 3D printing products, the company has been refocusing its efforts into the industrial 3D printing market. So far the move seems to be finally heading the company in the right direction. As the head of a $26 billion printing business, VJ is ideally suited to take the reins of a 3D printing company that is seeking to reposition itself as a leader in industrial and commercial 3D printing applications.
“We are pleased to announce VJ’s appointment as President and CEO of 3D Systems. VJ’s significant experience scaling and strengthening technology-driven businesses, his expertise in product development and innovation, and his proven track record of operational excellence make him the ideal candidate to lead our company into its next era,” said Chairman of the 3D Systems Board of Directors Wally Loewenbaum.
To suggest that replacing Reichenthal was going to be quick and easy is to completely ignore 3D Systems as a company and the state of the business that he left behind him. While publically the split was amicable, it is doubtful that behind closed doors it was quite so cordial. Reichental’s resignation came after a string of bad news, poorly chosen acquisitions and lawsuits that plagued 3D Systems throughout 2015, including stock prices dipping to unprecedented lows, the loss of several legal battles and the implosion of the company’s desktop division.
Regardless of the obvious errors in judgement made by Reichental, it is impossible to ignore the fact that he was a force of nature within the company, and within the 3D printing industry itself. He was unquestionably a large contributor to the public’s greater understanding, and embrace of 3D printing technology. Between giving TED Talks, enticing celebrity endorsements and spearheading a massive public advertising campaign, Reichental was the face of 3D printing for nearly two years, and for a while at least 3D Systems enjoyed the fruits of his labor.
By positioning himself as the 3D printing mastermind, Reichental put a target on his head a mile wide if anything went wrong with 3D Systems. So when things started to fall apart, it was not at all surprising that he would be the first person to go. Not only was he directly responsible for many of the poorly chosen business decisions, but he was widely seen as the cause of much of the dysfunctional corporate culture at 3D Systems. However it is shocking that he seemed to be the only high level executive to get the boot, especially considering how very dysfunctional that corporate culture reportedly was.
“I am incredibly excited about the future of 3D Systems. We have a tremendous opportunity to help customers take advantage of the era of manufacturing transformation, including mass customization. While the company has a strong history in place, it is clear that we need to develop new and innovative products with unprecedented quality and service levels to drive sustainable growth and profits,” said new 3D Systems President and CEO Vyomesh Joshi.
While there has been some positive momentum coming from 3D Systems lately, the dysfunctional nature of the company still seems to be in place. Taking 3D Systems back to its heyday of stock market success and positive public opinion isn’t going to be an easy job unless some structure changes are made to the company. Let’s hope VJ’s success at HP, another company often plagued by dysfunctional executive culture, helps him putting 3D Systems back together again. Any thoughts? Discuss in the 3D Systems VJ as New CEO forum over at 3DPB.com.