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Kodak Realigns Business Units

Rochester, N.Y. – Seeking to regain corporate equilibrium in the wake of eroding film sales, Kodak announced on Aug. 21 a major realignment of its business units.

The move paves the way for an increased focus on digital photography, the explosive growth of which has thrust the traditional film powerhouse into increasingly rough waters.

To wit, worldwide film sales for Kodak fell six percent in the second quarter and the company announced earlier in the month that it would cut approximately 6,000 jobs.

The changes announced yesterday are part of the company’s broader strategy to right the corporate ship, with more details to come at a September 25 investors meeting.

The company is now organized under five umbrella operations from a previous four: Commercial Printing; Display & Components; Health Imaging; Digital & Film Imaging Systems; and Commercial Imaging.

All of the operating business heads will report to Antonio M. Perez, Kodak’s president and chief operating officer.

‘Our film products, which will become a smaller part of our business over time, will continue to enjoy widespread use, particularly in emerging markets, and will generate significant cash as our new digital businesses continue to grow at a fast pace,’ Perez said in a company statement.

James Langley, a former senior executive at Hewlett-Packard has joined Kodak as president of the new Commercial Printing business unit.

Willy C. Shih, senior vice president, will become president of the Display & Components group which includes products built on Kodak’s Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) technology and other display technologies, as well as its Image Sensor Solutions (ISS) businesses., which designs, manufactures and sells CCDs for digital cameras.

Shih will also maintain his responsibilities as president of the Digital & Applied Imaging group on an interim basis. D&AI manufactures Kodak’s EasyShare digital photography system, inkjet paper and provides online imaging services through the company’s Ofoto subsidiary.

Bernard Masson, currently president of the Kodak Display Group, will become president, Digital & Film Imaging Systems which includes emerging operations, such as Kodak’s initiatives in the mobile imaging market.

But it is not time to sound the death knell on film and film products, the company noted in a statement announced its reorganization. Traditional film/film products still generates cash, particularly in ’emerging markets’ overseas, the company said