David Reis Steps Down as Stratasys CEO
Michael Molitch-Hou posted on June 03, 2016 |
Stratasys has announced that its CEO, David Reis, will be replaced by board member Ilan Levin.

The 3D printing industry has undergone quite the roller coaster over the past few years. At the end of the last decade, open source desktop 3D printers, known as RepRaps, brought new attention to the technology by driving the cost of the machines down to prices below $500. In turn, the media hype fueled new IPOs on the part of some industrial 3D printer manufacturers, while driving all 3D printing stock prices to new, inflated highs. The two previous leaders of the industry, Stratasys and 3D Systems, experienced the biggest boosts, but, with the bursting of the stock bubble, the two companies have also faced the most devastating falls.


Stratasys has just announced that its CEO, David Reis, will be retiring from the position on June 30. Reis will not be leaving the company entirely, but will stay on as a member of the Stratasys board of directors as executive director.

Reis has an established history in the 3D printing space, joining the board of Objet in 2003 before becoming CEO in 2009. Object, a 3D printer manufacturer, merged with Stratasys in 2012. Objet was known for its PolyJet platform, capable of inkjetting multiple materials in multiple colors into a single print, a technology that became a part of Stratasys’ portfolio when Reis led the merger. The technology now drives the new J750 3D printer, as well as the Connex line, at Stratasys.

Stratasys has since made significant changes under Reis’s leadership, including the acquisition of Harvest Technologies and Solid Concepts, the largest independent 3D printing service bureau at the time that it was acquired. These companies were blended with Stratasys’ own service bureau, RedEye on Demand, to create Stratasys Direct Manufacturing, giving Stratasys even greater footing in the 3D printing service industry. The 2014 purchase of GrabCAD provided the company with a community of designers and, most recently, a platform for launching its own software solutions.

Stratasys also acquired MakerBot while Reis was CEO. Since then, MakerBot has suffered greatly, changing leadership three times, producing a problematic 3D printer component, and leaving Stratasys with such significant losses that Stratasys became part of a class action lawsuit. The consumer brand has laid off almost two-fifths of its workforce and shut down its retail shops, ultimately handing off production of its printers to global manufacturing services giant Jabil.

On July 1, Reis will be replaced by Ilan Levin, a member of the board and executive committee of Stratasys. Levin previously served as a member of the board of directors of Objet from 2000 onward, becoming president and vice chairman of the Objet board in 2011, just before the merger. Stratasys suggests that, due to Levin's experience with both companies, he will be able to create a smooth transition.

Reis said of his departure from the position, “It has been a privilege to lead Stratasys and its very talented team during a truly transformative period for our company and industry. The time has come to transition leadership, and I am extremely pleased to have a highly capable successor who has extensive knowledge of all aspects of Stratasys, including our technologies, markets and strategic roadmap. Ilan is an additive manufacturing pioneer, and has been a key figure in our industry for many years. I am confident in his ability to conduct a seamless transition and lead our company into the future.”

The news comes shortly after mostly tepid Q1 financial results for Stratasys, which beat some analysts’ expectations, but demonstrated losses overall. The news also comes less than a year after the CEO of 3D Systems, Avi Reichental, took leave of his own company. In the case of Reichental, there were accounts of difficulties between the former CEO and staff, which suggested that the board of directors had made the decision to replace him as CEO. The Stratasys CEO, on the other hand, seems not have had the same tenuous relationship with his own board. One wonders, however, what role Stratasys' most recent financial performance may have had in the decision for Reis to step down.

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