EFI’s new CEO Bill Muir opened proceedings at the firm’s Connect user conference with a pledge that the business would keep on innovating under his leadership, and would improve its execution in delivering solutions to customers.
Muir replaced long standing CEO Guy Gecht last October, and was speaking on the eve of his 100th day in the role.
He quipped that after 100 days he “would have to take responsibility for everything that happens” at the company.
Muir said he had been attracted to the EFI role because of the “incredible managerial courage and appetite for risk” that had enabled EFI’s expansion from frontends, to MIS and into industrial inkjet printing.
“One of my responsibilities coming into the company is making sure that we’re keeping the innovation engine alive and well and developing and producing for you, enabling your businesses to continue to thrive in the evolution [that is] taking place,” Muir said.
“One of the things we need to do a better job of is innovation and execution,” he stated. “We need to keep the innovation engine going and do a better job of helping you execute for the needs of your end customer… we want to be selling solutions that help customers be successful.”
Muir also said that after spending decades dealing with large-scale organisations and multinationals in his previous role, he was acutely aware that EFI’s customer base included many privately-owned SME businesses.
“It’s not lost on me that we are dealing with second, third and fourth generation family businesses. It’s not just your livelihood, it’s your life, and that’s something I take very, very seriously,” he stated.
In his keynote speech, at the 20th Connect convention, he spoke about the rapid pace of technological change, which had resulted in some areas of print declining while others, such as digital printing, have grown as had added-value services.
“There are attractive growth avenues within our industry… and some of the areas of the business have incredible room for continued growth. I want EFI customers to be the winners as the industry continues to develop,” he said. “The number of industries that print is touching, is truly mind-boggling.”
In keeping with Connect tradition, the opening day concluded with a ‘fireside chat’ featuring a notable CEO. Joe Popolo, chief executive of $3bn (£2.3bn) turnover brand experience specialists the Freeman Company joined Muir by the fire and spoke about how the business had adapted its know-how as a contractor at trade shows, and had become the “world’s largest provider of brand experiences globally”.
“We thought about how we could use these great products and services and go after totally different markets,” Popolo said, as he explained how the firm also expanded via M&A during a downturn.
“If you have the balance sheet and the willpower, buying in the face of a storm is a good time to buy.”
Popolo also highlighted the privately-held firm’s ability to take a long-term view about investing in its employees. “Invest in your people, and your culture, and over time it pays you back,” he added.
The Texas-headquartered firm produces more than 929,000sqm of graphics a year on its battery of 17 Vutek printers.
The conference runs until Friday at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. Product news on day one included a worldwide premiere for some new EFI Fiery DFE technology. The Fiery FS350 Pro will drive the latest cut-sheet and continuous-feed digital presses from EFI partners, as well as EFI’s own high-speed single-pass inkjet presses.
The firm also announced Fiery proServer Premium DFE, for “significantly faster” processing of superwide print jobs, as well as a new Fiery integration with Duplo finishing devices for automated workflows.
The Vutek h5 hybrid LED wide-format printer, which prints at up to 390sqm/hr and was announced at Fespa last year, also made its debut at the event.