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M11 service problems: a sign of bigger underlying issues


Patrickfoley@mac.com

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I hate to be an alter ego but my early 2022 M11 has been spectacular. The resolution is so good I sold my Hasselblad  H6D and large prints have great dynamic range and fine detail. I have updated the firmware each time and the camera has over 10,000 exposures. Never a problem of any kind (shutter, dropouts requiring battery removal …).  It happily uses any and all SD cards

Maybe this will all change tomorrow but this is my experience to date. 

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7 hours ago, fsprow said:

I hate to be an alter ego but my early 2022 M11 has been spectacular. The resolution is so good I sold my Hasselblad  H6D and large prints have great dynamic range and fine detail. I have updated the firmware each time and the camera has over 10,000 exposures. Never a problem of any kind (shutter, dropouts requiring battery removal …).  It happily uses any and all SD cards. 

Maybe this will all change tomorrow but this is my experience to date. 

Likewise - mid 22 M11 here. No issues whatsoever.

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September 2022 batch and I've had nothing BUT problems. I get at minimum one freeze per hour of use (taking photos or not) since purchasing in May. 2.0.1 hasn't helped. I also get corrupted DNGs across different SD cards.

Leica Miami told me in May that I should perhaps wait for the next firmware to deal with exchanging it. So I did. Now Miami tells me I'm outside of the window to exchange it with them and it has to go off to Germany for service -- this is insanity. $10k into this thing and Leica could care less. It simply cannot be used in any professional context, and barely in an enjoyment context...

Anyone interested in purchasing a gently used M11 paperweight? 

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I also have a quite funny story. I bought a demo M11 (manuf. year is 2022) in A condition with 3 years warranty from Leica direct (from a neighboring country because tax) and when it came, the rangefinder was misaligned and the camera showed the 35mm frame lines when I had a 50mm on and vice versa. It was absolutely weird. Since I had international guarantee I talked to Leica in my country because if they would have a look at it because I thought it would be speedier because I live nearby. They told me to send it in. After one week I received it back with a repair certificate but the problems were still there. A blind person would have seen that the rangefinder is still massively misaligned. I talked to the them and they basically told me that they did their work and everything is be fine now. The further process was unbeatable in arrogance and unfriendliness. They basically told me it is my own fault for buying in another country (but hey, international warranty) and it is what it is now. I was seriously shocked.

After that I talked to Leica in the country where I had it from and they were absolutely great when it comes to service. They took it back, checked it and within two weeks I had a replacement M11 which now works fine. It occasionally freezes but thats like 1 out of 100 times so I can live with that.

But yeah, I never had any issues with my M240, M10-R or Q2. The M11 seems to me especially fragile.

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I love my M11 but at the same time it's not the same feeling as my old M9. My M10-R I trusted and enjoyed using as it was still a simple and reliable experience. My M11 produces great photos but the reliability of it, especially the Fotos app being awful and completely unreliable for me takes a lot of the shine away. I had a Fuji X-E3 and the photos pop up on my Google home and they look excellent too. I'm hard pushed with why I would keep my M11, the Fuji isn't as pure and it's why I jumped back to Leica (I'm trying to get away from the computer feeling in my spare time) but for the price/hassle I'm torn with keeping the M11.

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On 11/16/2023 at 7:35 PM, Fritz Fritz said:

September 2022 batch and I've had nothing BUT problems. I get at minimum one freeze per hour of use (taking photos or not) since purchasing in May. 2.0.1 hasn't helped. I also get corrupted DNGs across different SD cards.

Leica Miami told me in May that I should perhaps wait for the next firmware to deal with exchanging it. So I did. Now Miami tells me I'm outside of the window to exchange it with them and it has to go off to Germany for service -- this is insanity. $10k into this thing and Leica could care less. It simply cannot be used in any professional context, and barely in an enjoyment context...

Anyone interested in purchasing a gently used M11 paperweight? 

I care!

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  • 1 month later...
On 11/10/2023 at 2:36 PM, Photojoejoe21 said:

You bet! I'm also hoping, like you Patrick, that they will send me a newer one. Both of my M11s so far were produced middle of 2022-ish. IDK if newer ones are more reliable but, hopefully between a new M11 and the new firmware update the freezing issues will be gone.

 

Has anyone who was experiencing freezes noticed it has gotten better with 2.0.1 firmware update?

 

EDIT: This whole experience, however, has made me wonder about if maybe I should just stick with film Leicas since they're so much more simple and less to go wrong. The new M6 looks mighty fine...but film prices yo :(

Quick update for folks on the M11 issues.

I received a replacement M11. The rangefinder was out of calibration by a significant amount. I tried to adjust it myself because I did not want to be without the camera for another 2 months while it was being repaired. In my attempt to repair it, I put a massive scratch into the top plate.

So I talked to Leica NJ, they agreed to cover the repair cost for the rangefinder since it was miscalibrated when I got the camera, and I paid for repair on the top plate. Totally fair, I messed it up, my fault. I should pay for that.

Just got the camera back today from repair and the top plate is loose. And wiggles. I will attach a video to this post.

It's been 5 months since I purchased a brand new M11. All I want is one that works. I am without words at this point. I don't know what else to say.

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2 hours ago, Photojoejoe21 said:

Quick update for folks on the M11 issues.

I received a replacement M11. The rangefinder was out of calibration by a significant amount. I tried to adjust it myself because I did not want to be without the camera for another 2 months while it was being repaired. In my attempt to repair it, I put a massive scratch into the top plate.

So I talked to Leica NJ, they agreed to cover the repair cost for the rangefinder since it was miscalibrated when I got the camera, and I paid for repair on the top plate. Totally fair, I messed it up, my fault. I should pay for that.

Just got the camera back today from repair and the top plate is loose. And wiggles. I will attach a video to this post.

It's been 5 months since I purchased a brand new M11. All I want is one that works. I am without words at this point. I don't know what else to say.

How on earth could a camera that hasn’t been properly reassembled get past quality control?!

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That is indeed appalling. However I would take a OO screwdriver and tighten the screws that hold the top plate, or walk into a Leica store and insist that they do it for me. What I would not accept would be to be without a camera during the next eternal wait.

BTW,  there  is a reason that I am willing to pay a third party repairer a small amount for a rangefinder calibration that goes beyond the hex screw in the roller, even if the camera is within guaranty. After all, a rangefinder calibration is not a repair but maintenance.

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4 minutes ago, jaapv said:

That is indeed appalling. However I would take a OO screwdriver and tighten the screws that hold the top plate, or walk into a Leica store and insist that they do it for me. What I would not accept would be to be without a camera during the next eternal wait.

BTW,  there  is a reason that I am willing to pay a third party repairer a small amount for a rangefinder calibration that goes beyond the hex screw in the roller, even if the camera is within guaranty. After all, a rangefinder calibration is not a repair but maintenance.

Jaap how do I do this? I didn't see any exposed screws on my M11. I would love to know how to do this and tighten the top plate.

Also, is there a database for local folks who can do rangefinder calibration? I called YYE Camera a few months ago and he said they won't perform that service if the camera has to be shipped. Does DAG do rangefinder calibration? Who else would you recommend?

Here's a link to the top plate not being properly attached. Please forgive my exasperation in the video.

https://youtu.be/LRF35Q4UEq8

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20 minutes ago, Photojoejoe21 said:

Jaap how do I do this? I didn't see any exposed screws on my M11. I would love to know how to do this and tighten the top plate.

Also, is there a database for local folks who can do rangefinder calibration? I called YYE Camera a few months ago and he said they won't perform that service if the camera has to be shipped. Does DAG do rangefinder calibration? Who else would you recommend?

Here's a link to the top plate not being properly attached. Please forgive my exasperation in the video.

https://youtu.be/LRF35Q4UEq8

Of course DAG does. And a host of other services.  It is pretty basic rangefinder stuff . I must confess that I am more familiar with loose bottom plate Leicas. It would surprise me if on the M11 it were not screwed from the bottom, with one screw maybe hidden in the battery compartment. But I may be wrong.  However Dag is a good repair guy. He may well be able to screw the top down. Ask him; if you managed to scratch the top plate when attempting to calibrate the RF it might be wiser. 

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After reading the entire thread I can't help but wonder about future Leica purchases, especially at today's prices.  I haven't needed service on my SL2-S, but I have had alignment issues with newly purchased M models in the past.  Frustration for $9K discretionary purchases seems like an emergency, but the lack of putting resources behind the problem suggests that the problem isn't able to be solved without serious evaluation and structure.

It's also possible that the effects of COVID supply chain and training support is part of the problem.  Locally my AD mentioned that from 2020-2022 Leica had "challenges" training staff due to COVID disrupting the training programs.  While they "hope to catch up soon" the backlog of service requests continues to grow.

A similar situation seems to be present at Rolex.  They have had production issues along with record demand for their products.  Grey market prices for even the most common watches are above MSRP, and in some cases significantly so.  At the same time Rolex ADs suggest "three month turnaround" for service would be a good result.  The backlog is also growing, along with frustration and anger.  Despite all of that, the watches continue to be in demand and potential buyers have no choice but to put up with it.

Leica is similar in that it is viewed as a "luxury/near luxury" item, has a wonderful pedigree and brand recognition, and as a relatively small manufacturer likely doesn't have a lot of staffing backup to handle the large demand for their products.  Even now backlogs for almost all M lenses is common, and many other products face similar issues.

The question is "What choices do we have?"  If the product you want to buy is a rangefinder M camera/lens, the answer is "None".  There is one place to buy such a camera.  On the other hand any business wants to maximize profits.  Rolex is building new factories, just entered into a new distribution model by buying AD retailers, shifting high demand products to their boutiques, and culling "marginal" dealerships despite many decade relationships with many of them.  I suspect Leica will explore a similar business model.  They are also likely to improve service, but even if they decide to double their staff it takes time to recruit, train and furnish the needed resources to make that a reality.  It wouldn't surprise me if the lead time for that is well over a year.

In the meantime Leica seems to be pushing clearing out SL2 stock, offering significant rebates, free Black Friday accessories, and keeping mum on what the new SL3 may provide to allow the existing merchandise inventory to be reduced in an orderly manner.  They seem to have reasonable and capable management, but their business model is obviously showing strain.  Until that is addressed they will continue to flounder with existing problems, but they clearly have a lot of incentive to fix this issue properly.  No management team wants to be responsible for tarnishing the Leica brand.

Here's a profile of Matthias Harsch from the Leica Corporate profile page:

Matthias Harsch has been CEO of Leica Camera AG since 2017.

Before joining Leica, Matthias Harsch was CEO of Loewe AG and helped the company to restart as part of a restructuring program. Before that, he was responsible for the fortunes of the Bizerba Group for many years as Spokesman of the Board of Management. He began his professional career at the management consultancy Arthur D. Little.

That resume suggests to me that Leica realized there were issues as far back as 2017 and earlier.  The CEO they selected restructured a company prior to joining Leica, and was a consultant at Anderson Little.  

Here's the profile of Leica's CFO - hired in May 2022:

Michael Grimm (CFO)
Michael Grimm has been Chief Financial Officer of Leica Camera AG since 2 May 2022.

Before joining Leica, Michael Grimm held various CFO positions, including twelve years at Dr. Johannes Heidenhain GmbH, a high-tech optical metrology company. Before that, Mr Grimm worked as CFO for the Grohe Group and its owner, a private equity house. There he prepared the investor's exit, among other things, before working as a partner at Triton Beteiligungsberatung for several years.

This hire seems even more aligned with trying to respond to Leica's obvious production and service issues - he controls the purse strings, and he's been there about a year and a half.  He also was CFO at a private equity house - a role that requires a lot of serious problem solving skill and financial management.  I doubt it's a coincidence that he joined Leica when he did.  He was likely recruited for the role.

The last piece of the puzzle is the Leica Supervisory Board, described as:   

The supervisory board consists of Dr. Andreas Kaufmann (chairman), Dr. Frank Holzer, Saleh Panahi and Alfred Schopf  as well as the employee representatives Sibylle Burzel and Sascha Winkler.

Leica Camera AG is primarily owned by two entities:

  • ACM Projektentwicklung GmbH: This company owns 55% of Leica Camera AG.
  • The Blackstone Group: They hold a 45% stake in Leica Camera AG (Fact Checked for 2023) 

These two major shareholders represent the split in ownership of Leica.  

Mr. Panahi's background is Managing Director of Blackstone, the 45% Leica owner.  Blackstone is known for buying significant ownership stakes in companies, "cleaning up the problems", and exiting their ownership stake at a significant profit.  With that in mind, I doubt that he is blind to the issues outlined by the OP, or the other problems cited in other posts.  I also doubt that he has the patience to wait 5 years for things to turnaround.  I expect the new CFO hire is related to his position on the supervisory board, and intended to "clean it up NOW".

The new CFO and relatively new CEO have only been together for a short time.  Patience isn't easy for anyone, especially during what appears to be a critical time for new product introduction M11, Q3, SL3, discontinuing the S line (according to Thorsten Overgaard as noted in a recent article on his site), a war in Europe seemingly without end, a pending recession worldwide, and unfavorable exchange rates.  With all that on the plate, I suspect Leica has its hands full, and identifying priorities, securing resources, and sequencing the timing of what steps to take when, has everyone struggling to find the answers they need.

I don't envy any of them, and wish them well over what may well be a multiyear project to "right the ship".  It will be fixed, but the end result may look a lot different from the Leica that we have come to know.  The days of a major company, especially one with as storied a history as Leica, being run by the founder or his team are long gone.  Today the focus is on profits and growth.  Financial metrics take precedent over many other aspects of the business.  As an example look at Ferrari.  Enzo had a vision - Ford tried to buy them and we know the rest of the story.  They just introduced a 4 wheel AWD quasi SUV.  Do you think that was Enzo's vision?  Clearly not, and the solution for Leica may be equally unexpected, especially with the need to invest new capital and develop new products to spur growth.  At 7%+ interest rates, and with a new CFO and Blackstone's never ending pressure to meet financial targets, I don't believe that whatever comes next will please all of the Leica faithful.

This is just my "two cents" worth of commentary, and it's worth just about that since most of my comments are speculation and opinion -most/ all of which is very likely to be  very wrong.  Clearly we all have an interest in the outcome, but the solution, good or bad, will be decided by the management team and the ownership group.  Their perspective may be very different from ours in terms of what the issues are and what needs to be done, but I'm pretty sure that they don't want to destroy the brand that took 100+ years to create.

Edited by lencap
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1 hour ago, jaapv said:

That is indeed appalling. However I would take a OO screwdriver and tighten the screws that hold the top plate, or walk into a Leica store and insist that they do it for me. What I would not accept would be to be without a camera during the next eternal wait.

BTW,  there  is a reason that I am willing to pay a third party repairer a small amount for a rangefinder calibration that goes beyond the hex screw in the roller, even if the camera is within guaranty. After all, a rangefinder calibration is not a repair but maintenance.

Oh yeah so I found the other screw. The hex screw in the roller is for horizontal alignment I learned, and there's another one behind the red leica sticker that is for the vertical adjustment of the rangefinder. i would like to get good at it at some point so I can calibrate it myself though but, it seems like there must be a better way to try to fix it than trial and error.

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2 hours ago, lencap said:

After reading the entire thread I can't help but wonder about future Leica purchases, especially at today's prices.  I haven't needed service on my SL2-S, but I have had alignment issues with newly purchased M models in the past.  Frustration for $9K discretionary purchases seems like an emergency, but the lack of putting resources behind the problem suggests that the problem isn't able to be solved without serious evaluation and structure.

... (removed the rest to manage the length of the quote)

I think that Leica, as it stands, has little to no incentive to improve its operations. It's the ONLY rangefinder camera brand in existence let alone luxury rangefinder brand.

The SL series (and sales) shows that they as a pure camera/imaging company they are not a top brand. It's not necessarily because the SL is a bad product line, but because the competitors are just that much better with better innovations. 

It's a company on a downward trajectory because, as you've noted, these dudes at the Leica helm are trying to make money (it's fine, no issues, it's not my company), but the idea that Leica is some family biz, about the art of photography is behind us in my opinion. 

 

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When I look at how Leica continuously creates interesting events around photography, with well known photographers and artists in my home town - no other brand in this market does something remotely similar. I strongly believe it’s leadership cares about brand protection, photography and quality. Having external investors is as such not necessarily a problem. But it has become a complex world that they obviously struggle to manage with just 1400 employees, while they play in a market that is a micro-niche within the shrinking niche of dedicated cameras. It is difficult and there is no guarantee for survival.

On go to market - the boutique approach makes sense for a luxury brand. And Leica has bought one of the biggest independent chains that still sold Leica in Germany (Meister Camera), similar to Rolex buying Bucherer. 

One thing is sure - these brands play the Luxury game, which means for prices the only direction will be upwards. 

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12 hours ago, intangiblethings said:

I think that Leica, as it stands, has little to no incentive to improve its operations. It's the ONLY rangefinder camera brand in existence let alone luxury rangefinder brand.

 

 

That’s not true anymore. There is or are others besides Leica. 😃😃😃

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I can understand the OP’s frustrations.  I’ve had my fair share of problems with digital Leicas, but my experience of the customer service has been exemplary.  Slow, but exemplary - New Zealand is on the other side of the World, afterall.

As others have said, I drop the camera in to the local dealer, I get a repair quote from Leica CS which I accept (what else am I going to do?), then some time later the dealer tells me the camera is back and I pay the quoted amount and pick the camera up.  My experience is that neither the dealer nor the distributor charges a mark up on the repair, I’ve never been asked to pay the repair cost in advance, I’ve had loaners in the past (Monochrom and SL) and the local service has been exemplary.

When my M10-D failed earlier this year (sd error) requiring a total electronic replacement at significant cost (about half the original cost of the camera), it was returned in les than 6 months. However, I seem to have lost the ability to connect to my phone - it seems the password wasn’t updated for the new electronic (wifi works, but password rejected).  Leica has suggested I use the camera over Christmas, they’ll then send it to Australia to fix.  Can’t complain.

However, I am not a Leica apologist. Every digital Leica I have owned has had to go back to Solms or Wetzlar for repair (M9, Monochrom, TL, SL, M Edition 60 and M10-D).  That is not a good hit rate, though Leica tells me it’s exceptional.  I’m prepared to accept that I’m unlucky, and Leica has looked after me.  But, after the M9/Monochrom debacle which Leica only acknowledged after senior management got involved, I switched to an electronics free M-A. The M10-D was an aberration.

The M11 is a miss-step, in my view.  This is not just because Leica seems to be struggling to get it right, nor because of quality issues (which I suspect is a combination of either faulty or poorly specified componentry and firmware), but becuase the whole concept is missconceived. The M10 based cameras were the closest to perfect digital versions of an M camera - das wesentliche. The M11 adds a whole host of “improvements” which are completely unnecessary, including a huge sensor and permanent liveview, which seem to be aimed at keeping up with who knows what. I guess it is pandering to spec sheet readers, rather than people who just want an evolution of what was a fantastic camera.

With apologies to the majority who are apparently happy M11 owners - the unhappy ones do need to be taken seriously.

Cheers
Happy X2D owner

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Interesting ideas here :D 

I have my new M11-P which I i had for two months, I did have 2 camera hangs where, but then again, I was not shooting a lot. 

Getting back to Lencap's thoughts - great ideas which I agree to, yet despite all companies wanting to profit, all companies can fail. I hope Leica does understand that. Big companies can fail and go distinct, it's not like Leica is invincible. There is always somone who wants to take your seat. Look at Fuji - 10 years ago it was a different story, look at their X/GFX lineup (I also shoot GFX for commercial related stuff) now. As long as they keep fixing/replacing/serving customers it should all work out. But hey, servicing camera for 6 months is definitely not okay...

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17 hours ago, lencap said:

After reading the entire thread I can't help but wonder about future Leica purchases, especially at today's prices.  I haven't needed service on my SL2-S, but I have had alignment issues with newly purchased M models in the past.  Frustration for $9K discretionary purchases seems like an emergency, but the lack of putting resources behind the problem suggests that the problem isn't able to be solved without serious evaluation and structure.

It's also possible that the effects of COVID supply chain and training support is part of the problem.  Locally my AD mentioned that from 2020-2022 Leica had "challenges" training staff due to COVID disrupting the training programs.  While they "hope to catch up soon" the backlog of service requests continues to grow.

A similar situation seems to be present at Rolex.  They have had production issues along with record demand for their products.  Grey market prices for even the most common watches are above MSRP, and in some cases significantly so.  At the same time Rolex ADs suggest "three month turnaround" for service would be a good result.  The backlog is also growing, along with frustration and anger.  Despite all of that, the watches continue to be in demand and potential buyers have no choice but to put up with it.

Leica is similar in that it is viewed as a "luxury/near luxury" item, has a wonderful pedigree and brand recognition, and as a relatively small manufacturer likely doesn't have a lot of staffing backup to handle the large demand for their products.  Even now backlogs for almost all M lenses is common, and many other products face similar issues.

The question is "What choices do we have?"  If the product you want to buy is a rangefinder M camera/lens, the answer is "None".  There is one place to buy such a camera.  On the other hand any business wants to maximize profits.  Rolex is building new factories, just entered into a new distribution model by buying AD retailers, shifting high demand products to their boutiques, and culling "marginal" dealerships despite many decade relationships with many of them.  I suspect Leica will explore a similar business model.  They are also likely to improve service, but even if they decide to double their staff it takes time to recruit, train and furnish the needed resources to make that a reality.  It wouldn't surprise me if the lead time for that is well over a year.

In the meantime Leica seems to be pushing clearing out SL2 stock, offering significant rebates, free Black Friday accessories, and keeping mum on what the new SL3 may provide to allow the existing merchandise inventory to be reduced in an orderly manner.  They seem to have reasonable and capable management, but their business model is obviously showing strain.  Until that is addressed they will continue to flounder with existing problems, but they clearly have a lot of incentive to fix this issue properly.  No management team wants to be responsible for tarnishing the Leica brand.

Here's a profile of Matthias Harsch from the Leica Corporate profile page:

Matthias Harsch has been CEO of Leica Camera AG since 2017.

Before joining Leica, Matthias Harsch was CEO of Loewe AG and helped the company to restart as part of a restructuring program. Before that, he was responsible for the fortunes of the Bizerba Group for many years as Spokesman of the Board of Management. He began his professional career at the management consultancy Arthur D. Little.

That resume suggests to me that Leica realized there were issues as far back as 2017 and earlier.  The CEO they selected restructured a company prior to joining Leica, and was a consultant at Anderson Little.  

Here's the profile of Leica's CFO - hired in May 2022:

Michael Grimm (CFO)
Michael Grimm has been Chief Financial Officer of Leica Camera AG since 2 May 2022.

Before joining Leica, Michael Grimm held various CFO positions, including twelve years at Dr. Johannes Heidenhain GmbH, a high-tech optical metrology company. Before that, Mr Grimm worked as CFO for the Grohe Group and its owner, a private equity house. There he prepared the investor's exit, among other things, before working as a partner at Triton Beteiligungsberatung for several years.

This hire seems even more aligned with trying to respond to Leica's obvious production and service issues - he controls the purse strings, and he's been there about a year and a half.  He also was CFO at a private equity house - a role that requires a lot of serious problem solving skill and financial management.  I doubt it's a coincidence that he joined Leica when he did.  He was likely recruited for the role.

The last piece of the puzzle is the Leica Supervisory Board, described as:   

The supervisory board consists of Dr. Andreas Kaufmann (chairman), Dr. Frank Holzer, Saleh Panahi and Alfred Schopf  as well as the employee representatives Sibylle Burzel and Sascha Winkler.

Leica Camera AG is primarily owned by two entities:

  • ACM Projektentwicklung GmbH: This company owns 55% of Leica Camera AG.
  • The Blackstone Group: They hold a 45% stake in Leica Camera AG (Fact Checked for 2023) 

These two major shareholders represent the split in ownership of Leica.  

Mr. Panahi's background is Managing Director of Blackstone, the 45% Leica owner.  Blackstone is known for buying significant ownership stakes in companies, "cleaning up the problems", and exiting their ownership stake at a significant profit.  With that in mind, I doubt that he is blind to the issues outlined by the OP, or the other problems cited in other posts.  I also doubt that he has the patience to wait 5 years for things to turnaround.  I expect the new CFO hire is related to his position on the supervisory board, and intended to "clean it up NOW".

The new CFO and relatively new CEO have only been together for a short time.  Patience isn't easy for anyone, especially during what appears to be a critical time for new product introduction M11, Q3, SL3, discontinuing the S line (according to Thorsten Overgaard as noted in a recent article on his site), a war in Europe seemingly without end, a pending recession worldwide, and unfavorable exchange rates.  With all that on the plate, I suspect Leica has its hands full, and identifying priorities, securing resources, and sequencing the timing of what steps to take when, has everyone struggling to find the answers they need.

I don't envy any of them, and wish them well over what may well be a multiyear project to "right the ship".  It will be fixed, but the end result may look a lot different from the Leica that we have come to know.  The days of a major company, especially one with as storied a history as Leica, being run by the founder or his team are long gone.  Today the focus is on profits and growth.  Financial metrics take precedent over many other aspects of the business.  As an example look at Ferrari.  Enzo had a vision - Ford tried to buy them and we know the rest of the story.  They just introduced a 4 wheel AWD quasi SUV.  Do you think that was Enzo's vision?  Clearly not, and the solution for Leica may be equally unexpected, especially with the need to invest new capital and develop new products to spur growth.  At 7%+ interest rates, and with a new CFO and Blackstone's never ending pressure to meet financial targets, I don't believe that whatever comes next will please all of the Leica faithful.

This is just my "two cents" worth of commentary, and it's worth just about that since most of my comments are speculation and opinion -most/ all of which is very likely to be  very wrong.  Clearly we all have an interest in the outcome, but the solution, good or bad, will be decided by the management team and the ownership group.  Their perspective may be very different from ours in terms of what the issues are and what needs to be done, but I'm pretty sure that they don't want to destroy the brand that took 100+ years to create.

You left one essential part out: Europe and especially the North-Western part are labouring under an acute shortage of trained staff - in virtually all sectors. Whether it is health personell (doctors, nurses, etc), plumbers and builders or camera repairmen or designers - they are simply not to be found.

 

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