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Friday, Jun 9, 2023

Broader Focus

In his 11 years at Technicolor, Lanny Raimondo has been heavily involved with the company’s transition into the digital world of the 21st Century. As the entertainment industry has evolved, the venerable 90-year old Camarillo-based firm has evolved with it and grown to meet the marketplace’s ever-changing needs. As the senior executive vice president of Paris-based Thomson (Technicolor’s parent company) and the CEO of Technicolor, Raimondo has overseen the company’s strategic growth and the development of its Services strategic business unit. The Services business department includes Technicolor Entertainment Services, Technicolor Home Entertainment Services, Technicolor Network Services and Technicolor Electronic Content Distribution Service owners, a quartet of departments that service widely different functions within the entertainment industry. During his tenure as CEO, Raimondo has driven Technicolor to expand its worldwide businesses. From content creation to distribution, Technicolor offerings include film processing, post production services, film distribution, DVD manufacturing, custom packaging and retail distribution. Recently, the company has begun branching out its focus with a digital cinema initiative designed to usher American movie theaters into the digital world. Employed at Technicolor’s sprawling Camarillo headquarters since 1994, Raimondo previously served as president of Technicolor’s video services division. Prior to joining Technicolor, he spent 16 years with Pirelli Cable Corporation managing large subsidiary companies in Great Britain, the United States and Canada. Raimondo began his career with Pirelli as vice president of marketing in 1978, before ultimately going on to serve as Pirelli’s president and CEO from 1985 to 1994. Question: Since you became CEO of Technicolor in 1998, the firm has greatly expanded the scope of its business. How difficult was that to implement and how did you ensure the company stayed focused in its vision? Answer: It’s pretty straight forward. I focused on developing an organization of people that could help implement and execute my vision. One of the keys to our success is that we have a strong organization with the capabilities of execution. If we latch onto an idea we have the ability to make it happen. We can make things happen. We have long relationships with our customers and we only do things with their support and knowledge. That probably is the number one reason why we’ve developed the business; the other is that we maintain a short and long-term focus. All companies today have to manage quarter by quarter, half by half, year by year, but if you’re too short sighted and that’s all you do well, in all likelihood you’ll run into a cliff. Q: The digital cinema initiative clearly represents a great deal of potential business for Technicolor. How important do you see this initiative being and how will you make sure that it goes off smoothly? A: It will be very important for a number of reasons. It’s an evolution of technology and the evolution of digital technology into entertainment is happening in various segments of the industry. We want Thomson/Technicolor to be an across-the-board supplier of digital technology. We try to keep perspective from the production side of the camera to delivering that content to the consumer, whether it’s in the theater or the home or in retail. It’s important for us to keep a strong position in the field and with digital cinema there are good revenue and growth opportunities. Q: Technicolor has stepped up its involvement in the video game industry. How important is this to the firm and what role do you think the video game industry is going to play in Technicolor’s future? A: It’s pretty clear that the game industry is an important and growing industry and it’s an opportunity for us to develop stronger positions in another segment of the entertainment world. But it’s also important because it uses our existing talents and capabilities: visual effects, post production, and delivering content. The growth in the market has been slow to develop but we can certainly feel the momentum, whether it is video content for mobile hand held games or any other format. It’s becoming more important for us to leverage our talent and skills and it’s important to our customers. Microsoft is an important client for us and our Hollywood clients are developing games and that means they’re looking for service providers like us. Q: Like many companies that rely heavily on cutting edge technology, Technicolor has had to stay on its toes to ensure that it remains a company that innovates. How difficult has that been to do and what do you feel is necessary to make sure that the company sustains its relevance in the 21st Century? A: Innovation and technology are more important to Technicolor and the industry than it has ever been because of the importance of digital technologies across the industry. We have a meaningful seat at the table with our customers, which requires us to have visions and technology to deliver a solid business model. We believe we have that capability. In today’s environment and going off as far as I can see in the future, it’s a much bigger deal and we have to have a vision and the capability of leading our customers and showing them how we can monetize this technology for them. We spend a tremendous amount of time on innovation. Q: Technicolor recently purchased the PRN Corporation for $285 million in cash and folded it into its Burbank operations. How big of an acquisition was this for the firm and what does it mean for its future? A: It was a large acquisition and very important because it became the base for the digital networks business that we’re trying to establish. PRN is a first class business in the retail space, having been successful in developing business with Wal-Mart. If you put PRN’s assets together with ours than we have a new network services business that we’re developing globally that’s meaningful and will grow dramatically over the next three or four years. PRN is a big part of that, the importance to Thomson was even a bigger deal than the size of the acquisition. Q: Technicolor is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. What factors and philosophies do you believe have contributed to the company’s longevity? A: We have firm relationships with the Hollywood studios and we evolve with them. They’re big customers and demanding customers but we’ve delivered for many years so there’s a trust factor. When they’re deciding on their next business stage, we’re always interested in being as cost effective and efficient as we can. When you need content delivered, you need someone you can trust who can keep it secure. On the other side, the management trick is not to be stale. We try hard to make sure that we’re more relevant today than we were 90 years ago. We’re an integral part of the industry and that legacy serves us well, but there’ also an implied responsibility implied with it. Customers tend to expect more from us than they might from someone else, but that’s a good problem to have. Q: What are some of the major obstacles that you’ve faced at the helm of Technicolor and how have you managed to overcome them? A: Developing and executing against a vision was an obstacle. Developing an organization in a growth environment and having to transition to new business models and new technologies is never easy. Technology shifts put businesses and management teams at risk. Wall St. is littered with companies that 15 years ago were extremely strong and are quite weak today because they didn’t manage themselves well. We need to maintain a relevance to take advantage of shifts in business models and technology rather than get caught by them. That kind of thing requires building a strong organization and investing in the future. Q: What is your vision for the company’s future? Where do you see the company being five to ten years down the road and beyond? A: Within the Thomson organization the basic structure of the business will continue to evolve around technologies that will result in revenues. Within the system division, we will develop the next generation of home gateways and high definition devices that will allow people to record and play and download into their built-in home gateways or home networks. We will continue to develop the professional side of our business which will allow us to deliver better and cheaper products to our customers to develop content. Within the services division, we will continue to grow rapidly. The content services division will triple over the next five years. The digital cinema business won’t be large within the next two years but within five years, it will be a very important piece of our revenue stream. VOD will allow us to evolve as far as meaningful revenues and it will evolve for us over the next three to 10 years to provide services that are key from our perspective. Name: Lanny Raimondo Title: Senior Executive Vice President of Thomson, Chief Executive Officer of Technicolor Organization: Thomson/Technicolor Born: September 1943 Education: B.S., Electrical Engineering, Purdue University, post-graduate studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration Career Turning Point: 1) His decision to leave the comfort of the United States and move to England to become an executive for Pirelli. 2) The decision to leave Pirelli and come to Technicolor Most Admired People: Sister. A mentor at Pirelli named Stanley Crooks who mentored him in the business and how to manage people. Hobbies: The outdoors. Hiking. Weightlifting. Personal: Married 40 years, three children, nine grandchildren.

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