DARDEN la &IsmEss PUBLISHING UNWERSMIOIRGINIAUVA-S-0225 Rel. May 16. 2014LUCA CAMERA: A “BOUTIQUE” FIRM FACES A WORLD OF CHANGELeica must be kept from becoming a boutique firm for the nostalgically minded —Dr. Josef Spichtig, Leica chairman, 2005 annual reportLeica Camera AG CEO and principal owner Andreas Kaufmann was melancholy while strolling the floor of photokina—the world’s largest photography industry trade fair. The biannual event took place in Cologne, Germany, less than 100 miles from Leica’s headquarters in the small town of Solms. Being so close to home made Kaufmann feel more like a host than an attendee, and after having had another tough year in 2008, he did not relish the spotlight. Kaufmann had fired the previous CEO. Steven K. Lee an American), a few months earlier after Lee’s efforts to turn around the struggling company had rubbed longtime German employees the wrong way.Leica’s big announcement at photokina was the launch of the M8.2 digital system camera—an update to the M8 model that had been unveiled two years earlier at the same trade show_ The M8 had had problems processing infrared light, which caused some black colors to appear purple. To resolve the problem, Leica had provided free filters to M8 owners and sent 4,000 letters of apology hand-signed by Lee: The M8.2 fixed all that and featured some new exterior finishes, but Leica’s most devoted followers were looking for signs of something else: what Lay ahead for the company’s famed R-series cameras and lenses?Kaufmann was preparing to make a decision on the company’s well-loved but antiquated R series. The line included expensive analogue SLR cameras and an array of high-end, expensive R lenses that Leica’s die-hard fans had amassed since its introduction in 1976. The choices were simple with varying complications—Leica was a small company, and investing resources would‘ Mike Lsteral. “Late to Digital. Lezica Slow to Refocus: German Camera Pioneer Fired. American CEO Who Pressed Fur Filmless Future,- Wall Sum:Journal. September 16, 2008, Bl.This case was prepared using public sources by Bill Chapman. Case Writer, Gerry Yemen, Senior Researcher; and 5. Venitatararrian. MasterCard Pmfc,,sor lir Business Administration. Kauirriann’s thoughts arc fitlionali/ed inn pedagogical reasons. It was written as a basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate effective or ineffective handling elan administrative situation- Copyright 2012 by the University of Virginia Darden School Foundation, Charlottesville, VA. All rights rcscrwad. Tn order copies. send on so sa kes&dardenhusi nesspubl ishinsom, No poll of this pliblica don may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system. used in a s,preadskeet, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic. mechanical, photocopying, recording. or otherwise without the permission of the Darden &Anal Foundation.et” centre•▪ Y•404141•44,4…..1we. A01101i0 1111•AIA • F1, 1111111Imo ally %RAI 1 .44 01414 /MCI I .14 L04’3Y1 151111 • viroyammer.P..471.
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