Chairman and chief executive officer, Eastman Kodak Company
Born: May 4, 1948, in Wytheville, Virginia.
Education: Ohio University, BBA, 1970; Rochester Institute of Technology, MBA, 1973; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MSM, 1988.
Career: Eastman Kodak Company, 1970-1986, various positions in market research and statistical analysis; 1986–1988, assistant general manager of the Latin American Region; 1988–1991, vice president and general manager of European Marketing Companies; 1991, general manager of European Marketing Companies; 1991–1995, general manager of the European, African, and Middle Eastern Region; 1995–1997, executive vice president and assistant chief operating officer; 1997, president and chief operating officer; 2000–2001, president, chief operating officer, and chairman of the board; 2001–, chief executive officer and chairman of the board.
Awards: Sloan Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1987–1988; Human Relations Award, American Jewish Committee Photographic Imaging Division, 1997; Distinguished Alumni of the Year in Business, Rochester Institute of Technology, 1999; Alumni Hall of Distinction, New York State Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, 2000; Leadership Award, Photographic and Imaging Manufacturers Association, 2001; named one of the ten chief executives in 2001 who has shown outstanding leadership in the area of workplace diversity, CEO Initiative for Diversity Best Practices and the Business Women's Network; Person of the Year, Photo Manufacturers and Dealers Association, 2004.
Address: Eastman Kodak Company, 343 State Street, Rochester, New York 14650; http://www.kodak.com.
■ In 2000 Daniel A. Carp became the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the Eastman Kodak Company of Rochester, New York, one of the leading photo-imaging corporations in the world, with annual revenues of more than $13
billion. A career-long Kodak employee, he climbed the corporate ladder gradually, filling positions in both the United States and abroad before entering the elite circle of top management in 1995 and ascending to the top position. Carp's leadership of Kodak was marked by several major initiatives that made him the object of much criticism from some shareholders and financial analysts. He was determined to maintain the company's long dominance in consumer photo-imaging as the industry passed through a radical transition from traditional photography (that is, the exposure of chemically treated film to light) to filmless digital photography (that is, the creation of pixels by computer program). At the same time, he led Kodak in a marketing and manufacturing push designed to make the company dominant in the enormous emerging consumer markets of Asia, especially China, where traditional photographic methods are likely to remain the norm in consumer imaging for decades to come.
Daniel Carp was born and raised in Wytheville, Virginia, a town of about eight thousand located in the southwestern corner of the state in the Blue Ridge Mountain region. He attended public schools, graduating from George Wythe High School in 1966. Little is known about his upbringing or family life, subjects he chose not to discuss in public. An early and steady desire for a career in business is evident in his academic record. As a student at Ohio University in Athens, a school known for its broad-based offerings in the liberal arts, he chose to pursue a strictly focused bachelor of business administration degree in quantitative analysis, which he received in 1970. Within months of graduation he secured a job with Kodak as a statistical analyst in Rochester. As an entry-level executive, he continued his studies in business at the Rochester Institute of Technology, earning an MBA. Carp's long climb through the ranks of "Big Yellow," as Kodak is sometimes called, was a gradual one that can be described in terms of three distinct career periods. From 1970 to 1986 he gained hands-on experience and increasing responsibility in market research, business planning, marketing management, and line-of-business management in Kodak's U.S. and Canadian operations, rising through the ranks of middle management to hold such positions as manager of sales for Kodak Canada and general manager of Kodak's Consumer Electronics Division. A second phase, from 1986 to 1995, was international in character. It included stints for Carp in high-level management positions with Kodak's divisions in the Latin American region (1986–1988) and the European, African, and Middle Eastern region (1989–1995).
Carp's success on the world marketing stage in battling Kodak's arch rival, Fuji Corporation of Japan, clearly won the notice of top management and gained him consideration for further advancement. In 1987 he began a year as a Sloan Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management, where he earned a second graduate degree, a master of science in management, which served as a credential considered appropriate to the huge corporation's highest echelons. A third phase, in which Carp was integrated into Kodak's inner circle of top management, began in 1995 when he was recalled to Rochester from the London regional office and promoted to executive vice president. Within two years he took the positions of president and chief operating officer of the company and was elected to a seat on the board of directors as well. Carp became board chairman on January 1, 2000, thus consolidating his position of optimal executive power in the publicly held company. His predecessor, George Fisher, in handing over power to Carp, praised him for his "expansive focus on customer needs" and his "strategic understanding of growth opportunities" (Deutsch, June 10, 1999). His quick movement to the top in the late 1990s was attributed to the anomalous position in which the company found itself. It was successfully dominating an industry that showed signs of disappearing. Carp was brought in to save the company from a catastrophe attributable to its own success.
Carp was given a mandate to do what he thought necessary to make the venerable company, which had launched the mass market for home photography with its Brownie camera in 1900, into a state-of-the-art imaging corporation capable of achieving similar dominance in the emergent mass market for digital photography. Carp made his intentions clear. Within weeks of taking office he noted in an interview with Industry Week that Kodak's founder, George Eastman, had first gained a dominant position for the company by developing new technologies and that he was prepared to follow the founder's example. "R & D [research and development] is at the core of what is going on in our company, probably more so today than at any time in our history," he said (July 17, 2000). He knew that there would be opposition within the company but promised to be a devil's advocate for good ideas, whether or not they made it through the corporate bureaucracy. According to Carp, once an idea had proved viable to him, "it is incumbent on the CEO to find a new way to take [it] to the marketplace" (July 17, 2000). In the broadest sense, the "idea" that Carp had to take to the marketplace was digital photography.
Though Kodak claims to have invented the digital camera in 1980, the company did little to capitalize on it for almost two decades. When Carp became CEO, Kodak had just completed a record year for traditional silver-halide film production, manufacturing more than one billion rolls in 1999 and utterly dominating the U.S. market with more than a twothirds share of retail sales, while filmless digital photography accounted for only about 10 percent of the American home-imaging market. Carp, however, saw past those figures to the belief that a mass public switch from film-based to digital photography was inevitable. Given Kodak's heavy investment in the former, the company had no choice, in his view, but to change its core business to meet the demands of this paradigm shift in home imaging. His experience in marketing was likely a factor in this vision.
Whatever else can be said about the two imaging processes, digital offers more convenience to the consumer as well as lower cost at just about every step. Digital requires no purchase of film, nor does it require the time or expense of a developing process. Instead, consumers can view images on a personal computer or other video screen that they probably already own. If traditional photographic finished products are desired, the digital photographer has the option to print or to choose not to. Unlimited numbers of free electronic copies can be produced and delivered by e-mail at no expense. For many households already equipped with a personal computer, digital photography is the logical choice. Longtime Kodak executives, including some who had weathered the storms of previous technology fads, notably, the Polaroid "instant picture," remained skeptical. There was even less enthusiasm from those investors more interested in short-term profits than in seeing the company go through an expensive retooling process to become a primarily digital company, a process that Carp estimated could cost as much as $16 billion.
Carp faced the enormous task of keeping the company astride both sides of this technological cusp in home imaging, even though he had no doubt about the eventual outcome of the struggle between the two technologies. While he was eager to capitalize on the value of the company's history and reputation as the leading force in home imaging, he put sentimentality about the past aside, lest the company be perceived as a doddering old behemoth trapped in a "sunset industry." For example, while Kodak continued to manufacture hundreds of millions of rolls of film each year, the company gradually phased out the use of its Kodachrome film brand in advertising, so as not to be identified as a predigital vendor by consumers switching to digital cameras. Carp liked to describe the change in his industry as an exciting opportunity rather than a threat. "Kodak is convinced that there has never been a better time to be in the picture business…. Digital can change the way people take and use pictures. Suddenly there are no boundaries to how often you can take pictures because cost and availability are no longer issues," he said in a 2000 speech to the Advance Digital Photography forum in Boston (April 10, 2000). Rather than wait for the public to make the leap, Carp believed that Kodak should be a driving force in bringing about consumer conversions to digital.
Though the price of Kodak shares suffered and the value of its dividends to shareholders dropped precipitously, Carp mobilized the company to implement his digitalization program. Before 1998 Kodak did not have a digital business to report on. By the end of 2003 it was doing one billion dollars per year of business in digital products and services, including its online photofinishing site, Ofoto.com. In addition to manufacturing its own lines of digital cameras and home-printer docks, Kodak emerged as the world's leading supplier of paper stocks, photofinishing products, and other materials used for commercial and home digital-image printing. Carp struck up corporate partnerships to capitalize on the power of the Kodak brand. Lexmark, for example, licensed the Kodak name for a line of its scanners and printers. Sanyo Electric Company and Kodak launched a joint venture to manufacture active-matrix organic light-emitting diode display screens. In the growing area of medical and dental imaging, Kodak worked on a variety of projects with GE Medical Systems. Retailing partners were outfitted with do-it-yourself Kodak picture kiosks and professional digital minilabs that can conveniently scan traditional pictures into digital documents and and convert digital shots into elegantly printed hard copy. One of Carp's first decisions as CEO was to have Kodak join the International Imaging Industry Association (IIIA), whose members included Fuji and Agfa-Gevaert, its two biggest worldwide competitors. Kodak then entered into an IIIA agreement providing for industry-wide compatibility of digital-imaging products. Kodak's movement from labor-intensive photographic equipment manufacturing to the service-oriented digital imaging industry occasioned sharp reductions in its workforce. In January 2004 Carp announced that Kodak would be cutting between 20 and 25 percent of its worldwide employees.
While the digitalization of Kodak's consumer imaging business was the centerpiece of Carp's strategy, it was by no means his entire plan for Kodak. Emerging industrial societies, such as China and India, where home computers were rare and digital cameras too expensive for all but the wealthy, had large populations of newly urbanized consumers who had never owned a camera or taken a photograph. These countries represented an enormous potential market for traditional photo-chemical imaging, precisely the product line that Kodak had been delivering best for more than a century. In 2000 Carp journeyed to China and cemented ties between the company and Chinese leaders. Carp served as a member of the U.S.-China Business Council and joined the advisory board of the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management. Kodak, which did business in China before the Communist revolution of 1949, reentered the Chinese market through its purchase of a stake in Lucky Film, China's largest film company. It provided technological and marketing assistance to Lucky Film in creating a line of entry-level cameras and film products. As consumers "graduate" to more advanced equipment they are sold products bearing the Kodak brand name. In 2003 China became Kodak's second largest market (after the U.S.) in terms of gross sales. Carp wanted Kodak to be there when China was ready to make the leap to digital.
Carp was a strong and vocal advocate for diversity in the workplace. His hiring of Patricia F. Russo as his second in command at Kodak in April 2001 was unprecedented at Kodak, long considered an "old boy" company. He was a trustee of the George Eastman House, the Rochester photography museum endowed by Kodak's founder; a trustee of the Malcolm Baldridge Foundation National Quality Award; a member of the board of directors of Africare; and a member of the Business Roundtable. He served on the Business Steering Committee of the Global Business Dialog on Electronic Commerce and was an executive member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. He was known to enjoy watching and playing basketball. Asked by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle how he felt about being in charge of making such radical changes in the company he had been with for most of his life, he said, "I am excited about this being on my watch. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I am glad I am here doing this. It's a relief that it is now obvious where the film business is going and we can get on with what we have to do to make the company stronger" (October 3, 2003).
See also entry on Eastman Kodak Company in International Directory of Company Histories .
Deutsch, Claudia H., "Fisher Will Yield as Kodak's Chief Executive," New York Times , June 10, 1999.
"Exclusive Interview: Kodak CEO Dan Carp," Rochester Democrat and Chronicle , October 3, 2003.
"Kodak: The CEO vs. the Gadfly," Fortune , January 12, 2004, pp. 84–86, 88, 90, 92.
"Kodak Chooses Dan Carp to Succeed George Fisher as CEO," Eastman Kodak, June 9, 1999. http://www.kodak.com .
"Kodak Defines Need to Drive Mass-Market Acceptance of Digital Photography," Kodak press release, June 10, 2000, http://search.netscape.com/ns/boomframe.jsp?query=%22advance+digital+photography+forum%22&page=1&offset=1&result_url=redir%3Fsrc%3Dwebsearch%26requestId%3D7dfd8f69978048b0%26clickedItemRank%3D1%26userQuery%3D%2522advance%2Bdigital%2Bphotography%2Bforum%2522%26clickedItemURN%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252F www.dpreview.com%252Fnews%252F0004%252F00041001kodakondigicams.asp%26invocationType%3D-%26fromPage%3DNSBoom%26amp%3BampTest%3D1&remove_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dpreview.com%2Fnews%2F0004%2F00041001kodakondigicams.asp .
"Kodak's Photo Op," Time , April 30, 2001, pp. 46–47.
Teresko, John, "Kodak's New Image," Industry Week , July 17, 2000, pp. 38–44.