Sunday, January 29, 2017

Hasselblad, Again

It's in the news! Perry Oosting has stepped down as CEO, and some other chap is in as an interim CEO. Lots of speculation and so on. Some suspect that this is a harbinger of doom for H, others that it is a new beginning.

Let me add my own speculation.

Perry's a luxury guy, remember? Bulgari, Gucci, Prada. Then he put jewels on cell phones (VERTU) and now he's some kind of management consultant type (Perely BV). So he's a CEO-type, professional business/management guy with strength in jewelry and luxury. As I've said before, he was obviously plopped in to H to try out a luxury play. So he did that, first restoring the brand's credibility with the H6, and then rolling out the X1D to see if there was something there, and also the always-forgotten True Zoom Moto Mod (a clip-on add-on camera thing for a Motorola phone).

This was a relatively broad set of products.

The goal was, obviously, to see if there was a way to make an H branded object that would be a coveted status object for every wealthy woman in the PRC.

The answer seems to be "no, there is not." Hasselblad can make many beautiful things, but not that. It's entirely possible that there is no camera-like device that is that coveted object. They did not quite take the path I recommended or predicted or whatever it is that I did, but close enough.

Perry has, to my eye, clearly gone back to the board and told them that there is no billion dollar luxury play here. Mass photography is at present firmly in the hands of the mobile phone, H has no capacity to build a mobile device, and there does not seem to be a point of entry through which H can use their brand power to dominate a photographic aspect of the sector.

But, there is a decent little camera company and some cross-branded and technology transfer possibilities. He no doubt recommended to the board that they hire someone with specific expertise in those areas to CEO this thing going forward.

In my opinion, there is no way he was unwillingly ousted by DJI. He was operating as a workout specialist, not a long term CEO. He was there to explore and repair, not to run the thing as a career.

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