Kodak Names Oribitz Chairman Clarke as New CEO

Eastman Kodak Co. named Jeff Clarke, chairman of travel agency Orbitz Worldwide Inc., as its new chief executive officer, getting a leader with experience in the corporate technology market.

Clarke’s work with business clients, including stints as chief operating officer at CA Inc. and as an executive vice president at Hewlett-Packard Co., will help Kodak, the company said in a statement. He replaces Antonio Perez, 68, who will be a special adviser to the company, Kodak said.

Clarke, 52, said he plans to boost Kodak’s growth by taking advantage of the transition from analog to digital printing in markets including China and Brazil. After selling units including its photographic-film business, Rochester, New York-based Kodak emerged from bankruptcy last year as a smaller company making equipment for commercial printing and packaging.

“One of the things that attracted me to Kodak is our global footprint,” Clarke said in a phone interview today. “We’re looking at emerging markets as a critical part of our growth.”

Perez, who had been CEO since 2005, told Bloomberg News in January he expects double-digit revenue growth in China this year.

Kodak fell 2.2 percent to $26.62 at 11:17 a.m. in New York. Since the company emerged from bankruptcy in September, the shares have risen 37 percent.

Before joining Kodak, Clarke was a managing partner of Augusta Columbia Capital, a private investment firm he co-founded. He was also CEO of Travelport Inc. from 2006 to 2011, overseeing its $4.3 billion sale to Blackstone Group LP and the 2007 initial public offering of the Orbitz unit.

Storied Brand

Now he’s taking the helm of a storied company far removed from its heyday as a major consumer brand. George Eastman quit his job as a bank clerk in 1881 to form a photographic-plates company, according to Kodak’s website. By 1927, the company had 20,000 employees and was playing a key part in the development of sound and color movies. As digital cameras usurped film in the early 21st century, the company struggled to reinvent itself.

Still, Kodak’s brand is one of the most recognized in the world and was part of what attracted Clarke to the job, he said.

“All the things that the brand means in terms of quality and innovation -- it is a great advantage,” he said.

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