A year after being defenestrated from the CEO’s post at Xerox, Jeff Jacobson is back in industry action, this time as CEO of EFI.
He had been named executive chairman by Siris Capital to help identify opportunities for EFI’s technology and potential acquisitions, but with the resignation of Bill Muir as CEO for personal reasons, Jacobson was ideally placed. Muir had replaced long serving CEO Guy Gecht and steered the company from a stock market listing where its figures are under scrutiny every three months to the arms of a private equity group.
Muir had come out of brief retirement to take the EFI post. He remained in Florida while EFI’s headquarters are across the country in California. No details regarding his decision to step away have been made public.
Jacobson will continue the same strategy. Siris had been watching EFI for some time before getting the opportunity to step in with a $1.7 billion takeover. It saw a business with steady revenues in the Fiery DFE business and in large format inkjet and with strong growth potential in corrugated packaging and textiles. Digital printing has only scraped the surface of what is possible in these areas. And EFI has always been prepared to make acquisitions in order to strengthen its position in growing sectors.
Like Gecht, Jacobson leads from the front. He joined Xerox in 2012 to head the graphic communications division and became chief executive after Ursula Burns retired. But before being able to make a mark was the marked man fighting the takeover of the business by Carl Icahn.
In a statement last week, Jacobson declared: “I am thrilled to be expanding my role on EFI's leadership team to identify unique opportunities for innovation across the company. Together with my experienced and talented colleagues on the EFI team, we will provide the leadership needed to help EFI accelerate the transformation of industries where colourful images matter.”
He plunged into a global town hall meeting with EFI staff, and will be on the road meeting those staff worldwide in person and following Gecht's footsteps in spending extensive time with customers. This created the customer loyalty for which EFI is known. And Jacobson has more: having been ousted from Xerox, he has something to prove.
By Gareth Ward
Jeff Jacobson joined EFI as executive chairman and has swiftly moved to fill the CEO chair when, for personal reasons, Bill Muir decided to step down. Muir had led the process of acquisition by Siris, where Jacobson acted as adviser.