Stratasys Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS) announced on Thursday that David Reis has decided to resign from his position as CEO, effective June 30, and that board member Ilan Levin will assume the top spot on July 1.
This marks the second recent changing of the CEO guard in the leading 3D printing space. In April, rival 3D Systems named former HP Inc. (NYSE:HPQ) printing exec Vyomesh Joshi to the top spot after operating without a permanent CEO since the abrupt departure of its longtime former leader Avi Reichental in October.
Here's what you should know.
Reis' tenure and why he's leaving
Reis has been CEO of Stratasys since its merger with Objet in December 2012, and prior to that, he had held the top spot at Israel-based Objet since 2009. Previously, he was CEO at NUR Macroprinters Ltd., a wide-format printer manufacturer that was acquired by Hewlett-Packard. Prior to joining NUR, he served as CEO of ImageID and of Scitex Vision, a manufacturer of wide-format printers, which was also later acquired by HP. (Yes, it is a small world, as Reis was lined up to do battle once again with HP, which last month launched its first 3D printer for the enterprise market.) Reis will remain a member of Stratasys' board of directors as an Executive Director.
We can't be certain, of course, whether Reis decided on his own to resign or was helped out the door. While Stratasys, along with rival Triple D, has struggled to grow revenue since the first quarter of 2015, it seems likely this move was at least partially Reis' decision. The fact that he's staying on as a director would suggest there's no bad blood with the board. Unlike Reichental, who was almost surely ushered out, Reis has generally garnered fairly solid reviews for his leadership.
That said, Stratasys has made one huge misstep (or two related ones) under Reis' reign: buying MakerBot in 2013, or at least significantly overpaying for the desktop 3D printer maker. MakerBot imploded in the fourth quarter of 2014, largely as a result of the fifth-generation Replicator being released with widespread issues involving faulty extruders. Since then, Stratasys has taken goodwill impairment charges totaling more than the $403 million the company initially shelled out for the Brooklyn, New York-based MakerBot.
Ilan Levin and why investors can likely expect no major strategy changes
Levin has served on Stratasys' board since its merger with Objet in 2012. Prior to that, he was on Objet's board since 2000, serving as its president and vice chair prior to the merger.
Levin has been involved in the venture capital and private equity investment space since 1997, according to Bloomberg. He served as CEO of CellGuide Ltd. from 2003 to 2009, and as VP of Eurofund LP from 1997 to 2000. Bloomberg's biography lists rather hefty board experience, which is likely related to his VC and private equity activities. In addition to Stratasys, it looks like he's only currently serving on two boards: Vision Sigma Ltd. and IPC Oil and Gas Holdings Ltd. Previously, Levin was a practicing attorney involved in commercial, corporate, and securities law. In addition to a law degree from Tel Aviv University, he reportedly holds a bachelor's degree in Engineering (unspecified field) from the University of Toronto.
Stratasys' chairman of the board Elan Jaglom said in the press release, "Speaking on behalf of the whole Board, we are confident that Ilan's understanding of the company's business and strategy will enable him to build upon Stratasys' market position, foster a smooth transition and successfully advance the company's strategic vision." (If Jaglom's name sounds familiar to some of you, that's likely because his son, Jonathon, was named CEO of MakerBot last year.)
There's little doubt Levin knows Stratasys' business well, though it remains to be seen whether he can successfully lead a tech company of its stature.
The fact that Stratasys' board chose a CEO successor from among its ranks likely means investors can expect no significant changes in strategy from the Reis era. Whether that's a positive or a drawback largely depends on your point of view.
With new CEOs soon to be at the helms of the two largest publicly traded 3D printing companies, and HP and well-funded start-up Carbon (formerly Carbon3D) both having recently launched their compelling 3D printers for the enterprise market, things promise to heat up even more than usual in the dynamic 3D printing space.