Well, that didn’t take long. After the installation of 3D Systems’ new CEO Vyomesh Joshi two months ago, two top executives have abruptly departed.
As a publicly-traded company, 3D Systems is obligated to report any changes of significance that may inform their shareholders of material effects. In their June 6 Form 8-K report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), there is only one item presented:
Item 5.02 Departure of Directors or Certain Officers; Election of Directors; Appointment of Certain Officers; Compensatory Arrangements of Certain Officers
On June 6, 2016, 3D Systems Corporation (the “Company”) and Mark W. Wright agreed that Mr. Wright will resign from his position as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Company, effective as of the close of business on June 17, 2016.
Additionally, on June 6, 2016, the Company and Cathy L. Lewis agreed that Ms. Lewis will resign from her position as the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of the Company, effective as of the close of business on June 10, 2016.
The term “agreed to” usually means the executives were no longer wanted by the CEO.
This is a very major development at the company, as Marketing and Operations are the two most vital structures under the hood of any company. Those two domains are responsible for the majority of the company’s strategies. Thus, we may expect to see significant changes in coming months from 3D Systems.
The changing of executives is often a routine matter when a new CEO is installed. Just like sports team coaches tend to bring in a familiar set of assistant coaches, so do CEOs prefer to be surrounded by those they trust to execute the new strategies, whatever they may be.
The departure of the executives could also contribute to shareholder confidence as the two may have been seen as part of the previous 3D Systems regime. New faces in these roles could be seen as a positive by shareholders, strengthening the share price. However, the company chose not to publish an official press release on this change; perhaps they're waiting to announce the successors?
While it’s good to see changes at 3D Systems, I am of mixed feelings about the departure of Ms. Cathy Lewis, with whom I’d met many times and who provided great assistance to myself and this blog in the past. She was in fact the very first interview published by Fabbaloo in 2008, when she was running Desktop Factory prior to its absorption by 3D Systems. I wish her all the best in her future ventures.
Going forward it should be quite interesting to see which faces fill these key roles. Their skills and history could strongly indicate exactly where 3D Systems intends to move strategically.
And that’s quite important, as the company now faces vastly increased competition in the industrial market from new players such as HP.