Coup for EFI as former Xaar CEO joins as CTO
EFI has attracted veteran print technology executive and former Xaar CEO Doug Edwards as its new chief technology officer (CTO). The move brings Edwards back to work with CEO Jeff Jacobson – the duo previously spent a decade together, first at KPG, then Kodak.
Dr Edwards replaces longtime technology leader Ghilad Dziesietnik, who has retired after 25 years with EFI – the last 14 as CTO.
Edwards, who assumes his new duties today, has had an extensive career as a senior print executive and R&D technologist. Immediately prior to this appointment, he was CEO of UK-based Xaar, a leading developer of inkjet print head technologies for industrial printing, and he was chair of Xaar 3D – the company’s joint venture with Stratasys.
EFI has been using Xaar printheads for the key growth areas of packaging, textiles, and ceramics, the sectors that it believes are where the big growth opportunities exist, as digital is new there and has a relatively small market share with plenty of upside possible.
Before joining Xaar in 2015, Edwards was president of Kodak's Digital Printing and Enterprise Business with responsibility for flexo packaging, functional printing, electrophotographic solutions, and commercial and consumer inkjet solutions, with combined revenues of around $800m. Prior to this, Edwards ran Kodak's largest graphics business, Prepress Solutions, with revenues of $1.5bn.
Edwards joined Kodak from Kodak Polychrome Graphics (KPG), a 50/50 joint venture between Eastman Kodak and Sun Chemical Corporation, where he was Vice President of R&D. He has also held senior R&D leadership roles with International Paper, Zeneca Specialties (formerly ICI Colors & Fine Chemicals) and Ilford Photographic Ltd in the UK.
“Doug possesses one of the best technological backgrounds in our industry, and combines technology with demonstrated business accomplishments,” said EFI chairman and CEO Jeff Jacobson. “EFI has a history of providing its customers with a competitive advantage by keeping them at the forefront of technology. I had the pleasure of working closely with Doug – when I was the CEO of KPG, as well as when I was the COO of Kodak’s Graphic Communications business – and I cannot think of a better person in our industry to lead EFI’s strategic and technology developments.”
Edwards, who is based in EFI’s New Hampshire facility, has a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and a PhD in conducting organic materials – both from London University. He has several patents, scientific papers, and books to his credit in topics such as solid-state conductivity and photographic materials. He has also published research in textile dyeing, including work on the aqueous solution behaviour of anionic azo dyes for textile fibres.
Edwards said, “EFI was a customer of mine while with Xaar, and I am aware of the opportunity EFI has now to further develop a portfolio that includes many of the world’s leading digital inkjet and print workflow solutions. EFI, with its printhead-agnostic approach, is leveraging technology from many different vendors, and I look forward to bringing my inkjet experience to help drive value from this strategy and further enhance EFI’s ‘best of breed’ approach.
“Dating back to my time with Kodak and KPG, I have long appreciated Jeff Jacobson’s approach to innovation and technology development,” he added. “I look forward to working with him and the global EFI team to drive our customers’ success in high-quality print production.”