Doug Edwards, former CEO of UK inkjet head manufacturer Xaar, has become chief technology officer of EFI.
He will be based at the company’s Manchester facility in New Hampshire. This is just three hours travelling from his home in New England. “The job means a lot of travelling, but at least I can get home at the weekends,” he says. Despite running Xaar for five years, Edwards' family never moved to the UK. But there is more to the decision to take this offer than location.
“EFI has such a portfolio of products. Who wouldn’t want to work with this business?” he says. As chief technology officer, Edwards will be across the full scope of EFI products from Fiery, productivity software to inkjet in textiles, packaging, ceramics and display.
“And I’ll be working with Jeff Jacobson again,” he adds. The two had worked together for 10 years at Kodak Poychrome Graphics. “And there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to repeat that success. We are fairly complementary individuals. We know where each of us stands.”
While he has responsibility across the portfolio, the key growth opportunities are in the industrial print segment: textiles, packaging and ceramics, where EFI used Xaar print heads. But while much of the effort at Xaar was on creating the core printheads for others to implement, Edwards is now involved in commercialising the technology for market.
“There are opportunities for bringing the software products into industrial inkjet markets like textiles and packaging where only a low percentage is printed digitally.
“Success is about brining the right solutions to market and it is definitely a solutions play, which is something that we will have to get right. And we have all the components, software, machines and the ink to provide annuity revenues and the scale to have the service infrastructure.”
Edwards fills the post vacated by Ghilad Dziesietnik, EFI’s CTO for 14 of the 25 years he worked for the company. “Doug possesses one of the best technological backgrounds in our industry, and combines technology with demonstrated business accomplishments," says Jacobson. "EFI has a history of providing its customers with a competitive advantage by keeping them at the forefront of technology. I had the pleasure of working closely with Doug – when I was the CEO of KPG, as well as when I was the COO of Kodak's Graphic Communications business – and I cannot think of a better person in our industry to lead EFI's strategic and technology developments."
Edwards stepped down from Xaar in September after winding down the company’s development of a thin film piezo printhead and with it Xaar’s attempt at becoming a major league head supplier competing with Fuji, Kyocera and Epson.
By Gareth Ward