XJET announced a surprise change at the top, along with a change in strategy.
The Israeli company has developed a unique industrial 3D printing process they call NPJ, “nano particle jetting”, which is capable of 3D printing both metal and ceramic parts — and even in the same print job.
The process has been bundled into their Carmel industrial 3D printer, which has now been on the market for a few years. Both metal and ceramic versions of the device are available.
The company was founded in 2014, with founder Hanan Gothait in the CEO position. During his leadership the company developed their unusual technology and shaped it into commercial products for industry. We interviewed Gothait twice, once in 2017 and again in 2019.
Now, however, Gothait is stepping away to make room for a new CEO to lead XJET. The position will be taken up by veteran leader Yair Alcobi.
Alcobi is actually a mechanical engineer, but slid into management roles early in his career, with particular presence in sales. He also holds an MBA degree. Most recently he was President of the PCB Division of KLA, a manufacturer of advanced electronics and manufacturing components.
Why the switch? It has to do with a change in strategy by XJET. They explain:
“The move comes as part of ambitious planned growth for the company. With its ceramic additive manufacturing technology established and its metal AM system now commercially available, XJet anticipates a significant ramp up in business over the next few years. XJet is the only company in the world that uses direct material jetting to manufacture metal and ceramic parts, offering users exceptional benefits in material density and part quality.”
I’ve seen this scenario previously in other companies, and it has to do with the normal lifecycle of a technology.
At first the technology itself must be nurtured and developed, but once perfected, it must be sold. Technology and sales are two utterly different disciplines.
This is why company boards of directors often switch CEOs when faced with a change in strategy. XJET has developed their tech very well under Gothait’s leadership. But now they want to sell the products that have been developed, and the best way to do that is to have someone at the top with a sales focus.
This is what boards of directors do. They don’t deal in the day to day management of a company, as their only responsibility is to choose the CEO. To ensure progress in the direction they’re seeking, they choose a CEO that has the juice to get them there.
Alcobi seems to be the right fit for the job.
I suspect we’ll be seeing a much bigger emphasis on sales activity with XJET going forward.