Earlier in the year, Asher Levy was named Active Chairman at Landa Digital Printing (LDP). Previously CEO of Orbotech Ltd., Asher joins LDP at a time of great opportunity, but also of unforeseen challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting most global industries. Speaking after some time with the company, Asher explains his role at LDP and future plans.
Given a long and distinguished career at Orbotech what were your reasons for joining LDP?
“Well, I was heavily influenced by my first meeting with Benny Landa in 2019. Benny visited us at Orbotech and gave a brief presentation about LDP and I was simply fascinated by what he shared. We then kept in contact and later in the year, where Benny invited me to join the company as Active Chairman. Why did I join LDP? Well, firstly because of Benny himself – he is very impressive. Secondly, I did some research and looked at the company, the technology, the addressable market size and then the wider industry. At that point, I realized that the opportunity for Nanography could be huge”.
What are your responsibilities in the role of Active Chairman?
“In its broadest terms, it is to compliment, support and to be a true partner to the CEO. In the day to day, that means that I have an active role in business development planning, as well as helping to define all strategic initiatives as to long-term product and growth strategies. What’s more, it also means preparing the company for its next key initiatives – whether that be in raising capital or hiring senior personnel. In addition my role is also to underpin the company’s values and its culture”.
Not long after you joined (late January) the world was hit by COVID-19 – how did that impact your first few months?
“Well, COVID-19 has had a huge and profound impact on the whole world, so it naturally dominated my time, especially as I was also acting as the interim CEO. The pandemic’s impact was felt in every area of the business, with many questions for us to answer. Such as, how do we now communicate with customers? How do we demonstrate our presses? What happens now that drupa 2020 has postponed? And critically, how do we continue to support customers in the field? And in answering those questions, I have to say that I was impressed by how the business responded. The management team did an amazing job in reacting quickly, making swift changes to limit any long-term financial impact. In addition, the team also worked very quickly and smartly to address the other challenges too: hiring experienced local engineers in the field to support our customers and to keep them operational. The pandemic definitely fast-tracked my on-boarding process, and this meant that I very quickly got to know the business. And while COVID-19 continues to be a challenge, I can’t think of one situation where the team wasn’t able to find a solution”.
What are your initial observations about LDP?
“Wow, there are many. If I start with culture, some companies make you feel like everyone is replaceable, but this isn’t Benny’s way. LDP is all about its people and this makes you feel very comfortable and welcome from day one. We’ve clearly got a superior technological solution that aggressively answers market needs, presenting a huge opportunity for us and for our customers. Of course, we’re now in the execution phase which brings other challenges, but I am sure that these are all within our control. All our collaborators have the talent and professionalism to successfully conclude this phase, even within a pandemic”.
So, what are your main objectives for the next 12 months?
“In the immediate future, and like most companies, it is important to be ready for when the market re-opens. Of course, there are still some great unknowns, especially with regards to the COVID-19 challenge and its potential impact on the world economy and our customer’s businesses. But I have to say that from conversations with our customers, who are positive about the future, I’m very optimistic. So, to support them and to keep them running when the world starts to unlock, we will further strengthen our consumables model, which will undoubtedly see increased demand. We will also continue to build a challenging yet reliable and achievable business plan for 2021”.