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Chief Executive is Good for 3D Systems

January 31, 2004

Filed under: additive manufacturing — Terry Wohlers @ 09:56

At last month’s EuroMold 2004 exhibition in Frankfurt, I had the opportunity of spending some time with Abe Reichental, 3D Systems’ president and chief executive officer. He was hired in September 2003 to help the company climb out of its hole. Reichental came from Sealed Air Corp., maker of the popular Bubble Wrap packing material, where he served as vice president and general manager of the company’s Shrink Packaging Division.

Reichental is what the company had been lacking for some time. He has a fresh, get-it-done outlook and connects well with people. When I read the backside of his business card, I knew that he was not your average manager. Listed in red are five company priorities and at the top are customers. Some would argue that before Reichental’s arrival, customers were near the bottom. Other key priorities are cash flow, operational excellence, and innovation—areas in which the company had performed poorly over the past two years.

Reichental has made several management changes that should help the company. Kevin McAlea became senior vice president of Global Marketing, a change that should have occurred two years ago. Reichental has been successful at recruiting top managers from Sealed Air, such as Stephen Goddard, who is now vice president of Global Operations, and Robert Grace, 3D’s new general counsel and secretary. Other top-level changes include the addition of Fred Jones as chief financial officer and Bob Kayser as vice president of Global Sales. Ray Saunders, previously in charge of Operations and Development, became senior vice president of Global Services.

Combined, these changes should go a long way toward restoring customer confidence and loyalty, and I truly believe that the company is getting back on track. Time will tell, however, whether 3D’s board reacted soon enough to the company’s devastating decline.