To date, beleaguered Eastman Kodak (NYSE:EK) and the White House have been mum about whether Kodak’s CEO, Antonio Perez — a member of President Barack Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness — will be present for next week’s meeting.
He sure as heck shouldn’t be.
Perez’s continued presence on the council has raised eyebrows recently as the company has teetered on the brink. Kodak shares dropped to below $2 in September on news it was tapping its credit line, and in November the company said it was trying to sell off one of its few modern businesses, Kodak Gallery. Then last week, The Wall Street Journal dropped the dreaded “B” word as a possibility should the company be unable to sell off its cache of patents — if it can actually find any buyers.
And the most recent answer out of Rochester, N.Y.? A corporate restructuring. That’s right: A company facing possible expulsion from the New York Stock Exchange soon because its shares don’t meet the $1 price limit is spending its time rethinking the org chart.
There’s very little that’s remarkably competitive about Perez’s tactics at Kodak, and very little in the way of job creation either.
Perhaps most damning is that Perez could have done this restructuring years ago. He came on board in June 2005, when shares were at $25 apiece and Kodak was soundly profitable. The company is now a penny stock and hasn’t turned a profit since 2008. Sounds like Perez hasn’t been able to strengthen his own business, let alone come up with ideas to help the entire country.
He’s a C student participating in National Honor Society, and every parent knows that wouldn’t fly.
Of course, Perez isn’t the only member of the White House jobs council that stands out. As MarketWatch points out, the CEOs of Xerox (NYSE:XRX), Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), UBS (NYSE:UBS) and American Express (NYSE:AXP) all belong on the board, too, and all plan to cut or have eliminated jobs in the past year.
But while their companies have met a range of success and trouble, none face the same class of dire straits as Kodak.
At best, Obama must swap out Perez for someone more suited and proven for the task. But at the least, one hopes Kodak’s CEO will have the good sense to leave his chair empty at this upcoming meeting.
As of this writing, Kyle Woodley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned stocks.