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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Avid reorganizes, plans more 3rd party openness

In a letter to customers today, Avid Technology CEO Gary Greenfield outlined changes coming to Avid, both in terms of strategy, and organization. While the letter didn't mention any kind of staff reductions, it does indicate a re-alignment within the company:

We have established a new corporate strategy designed to meet the continuously evolving needs of the marketplace and enable our customers to achieve success. Part of this strategy means realigning ourselves in a way that will further integrate a range of video and audio point products into more collaborative media production solutions. It also means gaining a deeper understanding of the workflow challenges customers face everyday and helping to address them with a mix of both Avid solutions -- and systems from third-party vendors.

The heart of our strategy and the focus for the immediate future come as a direct result of the many conversations I have had with customers:
Build competitive tools with differentiated performance, at the right price;

Translate customer feedback into flexible, reliable, high-quality solutions;

Become more "open," offering greater interoperability between Avid systems and third-party products;

Refresh our product lines more frequently; and

Better leverage the innovation from all areas within the company to advance the market competitiveness of our offerings.

Aligning Our Structure to the Strategy

A critical component to executing our strategy is to make sure that we have the right leadership team in place. As a result, we have made several changes to the senior management team. One of the most obvious changes to the structure is that the leadership team will no longer center around separate, independent business units. Instead, we are creating a much more integrated customer-centric structure that will facilitate our goal of operating as a single company. Here's a snapshot of the new leadership team:
We are combining all of our sales, marketing and service across the company into one common organization: Customer Operations - led by Kirk Arnold. Customer Operations will act as a single, integrated unit representing the majority of the customer facing teams - such as sales, marketing, product marketing and service - for all of the top-level markets we serve, including Video, Audio, and Education.

We are re-aligning our business units to have their full attention and focus on product development. These units will include a Video Business Unit - led by Paul Lypaczewski and an Audio Business Unit - led by Tex Schenkkan. Paul joins Avid with more than 25 years of deep industry experience, having held leadership positions at ATI and Autodesk Media and Entertainment, and Tex is assuming this leadership role having been the COO of the Audio group for the past two and a half years. Both the Video BU, which now includes all of our professional and consumer video lines and the Audio group which includes Digidesign, M-Audio and Sibelius, will be integrated teams comprised of both engineering and product management.

On the service and support side, we've created a new Customer Success organization, led by Beth Martinko. Customer Success is an integrated team chartered with our technical service and support efforts for all of our offerings - from professional to consumer, and video to audio.

We also have a new Chief Technology Officer - Dave Lebolt. Dave, who moves over from GM of the Audio Group, has very strong technical knowledge of our entire company's audio and video product portfolio. As we move forward, Dave will play a pivotal role in ensuring that we continue our history of innovation in the digital media space. He'll ensure that we set the right priorities, align our resources to deliver new and emerging product solutions, and deliver an exceptional user experience that enhances the way our customers work in the future.

We have created an Administrative Operations organization - led by Ken Sexton. Ken has been overseeing our Finance, HR, IT and Legal functions since he joined the company earlier this year. Ken's group will now include Operations (e.g., manufacturing, quality assurance, strategic supply chain, etc.) for all of our lines - from professional to consumer, and video to audio.

Our Corporate Development organization will continue to examine Avid's growth strategy with respect to addressing industry trends through acquisition, third-party partnerships and other strategic business development opportunities.

We'll see if this means a more competitive Avid in the consumer video space, a threat to Final Cut, o rnot much at all.

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