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Oliver Kaltner New CEO Of Leica Camera AG


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The Leica Supervisory Board*today*has appointed Oliver Kaltner as new CEO of Leica Camera AG*with effect from 1 April 2015. Until now he was*responsible for the divisions Marketing, Sales and Retail*and**has been a member of the Executive Board at Leica Camera AG since 1 September 2014. Yesterday the German*Manager-Magazin published an article titled*„Blackstone läutet bei Kamera-Hersteller […]

 

The post Oliver Kaltner New CEO Of Leica Camera AG appeared first on Leica Forum Blog.

 

 

 

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So, finally Blackstone has turned on the heat ...

 

I would guess they turned the heat on around 1st September 2014 when they introduced Herr Kaltner to Leica who "successfully boosted its (Microsoft GmbH) revenues and profitability".

 

We could see some interesting changes ... for instance what is Leica doing repairing cameras out of warranty ... when they could be selling extended warranty plans instead (i.e. like Apple Care). That alone could allow them to reduce the price of an M, increasing revenue, and at the same time increase profitability by no longer repairing out of warranty products.

 

Yeah I know

but service differentiation, like Apple Care, creates new revenue in multiple ways.
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What would a Microsoft version of the M(240) be like? Vista?

 

I guess we will see the perfection of subscription schemes replacing the antiquated concepts of purchase and long term ownership. It will not be possible to "own" and use a digital Leica M camera for indefinite time anymore. You can only buy the right to use it for a given period of time before the camera stops working and you have to pay to renew your subscription and as a loyal customer, are rewarded with the then current model (of course, again for a limited time only until you have to renew subscription again).

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What would a Microsoft version of the M(240) be like? Vista?

 

Aren't the digital M's already like Microsoft computers? Prone to freezing up, requiring turning off and on again to keep working

 

He's the right man for the job clearly!

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I would guess they turned the heat on around 1st September 2014 when they introduced Herr Kaltner to Leica who "successfully boosted its (Microsoft GmbH) revenues and profitability".

 

We could see some interesting changes ... for instance what is Leica doing repairing cameras out of warranty ... when they could be selling extended warranty plans instead (i.e. like Apple Care). That alone could allow them to reduce the price of an M, increasing revenue, and at the same time increase profitability by no longer repairing out of warranty products.

 

Yeah I know

but service differentiation, like Apple Care, creates new revenue in multiple ways.

 

Do you know for certain that Blackstone headhunted him for Leica? Just interested.

 

I agree with you about Leica's generosity in repairing out of warranty, whilst good for customer relations, must have been very costly for them in recent years.

 

I think most customers expect to have to pay for repairs out of warranty anyway. I've read stories on here about people sending their cameras back just because there was dust on the sensor!

 

That said, many of the recent issues have been what you might call inherent design faults which should be rectified at the manufacturers expense (lugs falling off, sensor glass cracking - not Leica's fault as such, body casings snapping if mounted on tripods). These aren't what you would expect as typical faults that might arise from regular wear and tear.

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Alfred Schopf, CEO of Leica Camera AG said of the appointment: "We are pleased to gain an experienced sales and retail expert such as Oliver Kaltner for the company."

 

Steve Jobs: innovation can die out at large tech companies where marketing and sales are prioritized over disruptive innovation.

 

So the people that can make the company more successful are sales and marketing people, and they end up running the companies. And the product people get driven out of the decision making forums, and the companies forget what it means to make great products. The product sensibility and the product genius that brought them to that monopolistic position gets rotted out by people running these companies that have no conception of a good product versus a bad product.

 

They have no conception of the craftsmanship that's required to take a good idea and turn it into a good product. And they really have no feeling in their hearts, usually, about wanting to really help the customers.

 

 

 

 

Read more: Steve Jobs On Why Innovation Dies At Tech Monopolies - Business Insider

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Do you know for certain that Blackstone headhunted him for Leica? Just interested.

 

No, but lets say its pretty odd to promote someone to CEO after only 5 months with the company, so for sure this was a planned succession. Lets say he passed the trial period and got the job ... all very German

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Steve Jobs: innovation can die out at large tech companies where marketing and sales are prioritized over disruptive innovation.

 

Perhaps we can expect a LOT more Leica limited editions in the coming months. The last few might be indicative of the trend guiding the current succession.

 

The stingy policy of blaming the customer and charging to replace corroded sensors (later reversed) might possibly also have been at Blackstone's instigation.

 

All pure speculation, but more penny-pinching plus marketing might be the way of the future. The company may not have learned last December's lesson that the two (more often than not) do NOT go together in a brand like Leica.

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The end result, more special editions! Generally higher prices. Overall much more confusion.

The original Leica ideology is dead. John Wayne, the late Steve Jobs & Sir J Ive altogether would still need a miracle to get the current Leica company into this century..

Don't get me wrong, I've been a Leica fan since my 111f, but hey we are in different territory now.. As once famously said "Live Long & Prosper" ... Common Leica...

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I don't see why you think we should see more Limited editions now - OK it's easy money for Leica if they sell them (and not all do).

 

Imagine, Leica could just keep churning out special edition M cameras/lenses and nothing else, and still have a business. For a while.

 

What better way to appeal to the luxury/boutique market they've been targeting for the last few years? It would make the M truly exclusive and a toy for the very rich only. Seal would be pleased!

 

Leica need to steer their ship away from Luxury Toy Island, and towards Serious Photography Land.

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Special/limited editions come in many guises, not only Lenny's. Marketing visibility, appeal to a small but sufficiently moneyed niche, relatively low R&D costs, small production quantities and large profit margins are the central criteria.

 

Like the M60, the 'new' M-A is a special edition in this sense, too - whether it's a serious photographic product or not is less relevant. By the same criteria Leica might soon give us re-born limited edition Barnacks and screwmount lenses which, I admit, might tempt me (and which I think you, James, have advocated in the past).

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Like the M60, the 'new' M-A is a special edition in this sense, too - whether it's a serious photographic product or not is less relevant. By the same criteria Leica might soon give us re-born limited edition Barnacks and screwmount lenses which, I admit, might tempt me (and which I think you, James, have advocated in the past).

 

I'm not against Special/Limited editions, I have liked some of them. But it shouldn't really be the focus of the business IMHO which it seems to have been lately (how many have we had in the last couple of years!).

 

The M-A is a 'regular production' model, not a limited edition. I'd love to see a remade lllf although I probably couldn't afford one. That's the sort of special edition which I'd definately approve of!

 

What I've said more regularly though is that they should release some current lenses in LTM mount. They did a while ago, but only a limited edition of the 35 Summicron and 50 Summilux. Meanwhile LTM users (of which there are many) were buying the superb and excellent value Voigtlander lenses.

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"What I've said more regularly though is that they should release some current lenses in LTM mount. They did a while ago, but only a limited edition of the 35 Summicron and 50 Summilux. Meanwhile LTM users (of which there are many) were buying the superb and excellent value Voigtlander lenses"

 

Maybe Leica have shares in Voightlander, thereby cutting out the cost of R&D!

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Leica need to steer their ship away from Luxury Toy Island, and towards Serious Photography Land.

 

I'm not keen on the luxury boutique direction Leica have taken but "serious photography land" is not a healthy one at present and shows little signs of improvement. Leica are too small to be Zeiss and clearly are not in a position to compete directly with Canon, Nikon or Olympus (all of whom are losing money at the moment) so, rather than end up like Rollei, they may have taken the only realistic course open to them for long term survival and position themselves alongside (ironically) Hermes, Fendi, Patek Philippe, etc. Don't forget that opening boutiques is not the only strategy Leica have been pursuing – there has also been an apparently successful attempt to infiltrate non-consumer markets in still photography (S system and acquisition of Sinar) and the film industry with the cine lenses manufactured through the CW Sonderoptic sister company.

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IThe M-A is a 'regular production' model, not a limited edition.

 

Thanks, James. That is technically the right category for the M-A (as it appears or will appear in the catalogues etc.). And technically a limited edition is one of which it is stated at the outset only a specific number will ever be made. But my point is that there's a very indistinct line between regular production cameras sold in limited numbers, and limited editions. The MP, M7 and M-A are arguably all in limited-edition (broadly defined) territory, produced in very small batches, and on an on-demand basis.

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there's a very indistinct line between regular production cameras sold in limited numbers, and limited editions.

 

I think that's true and, in actual fact, the M-A was most certainly a special edition camera when it first appeared (in a very expensive package with a stainless steel Monochrom and selection of lenses – including the much anticipated but since largely forgotten 28 Summilux).

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