… andKodak’s CFO from 1994and on, Harry Kavetas,worked hard to clean up this mess…
In 1997, Kodak fired 19 000 people and needless to say, this affected Rochester badly.
Had the great yellow father turned into a greatgreedy monster with no care for its employees?
… I wouldn’t think so. The economicconditions were simply very different from the ones back in the 1970s when Paul Simon wrote the song Kodachrome…
… And even a multinational giant has toadapt to those changes, unless it wants to end up at the elephant graveyard.
While there have been quite a fewprotests throughout the years, I suppose most people in Rochester understand that the times have changed…
… And that a smaller Kodak is better for Rochester than no Kodak at all.
… Then came the digital avalanche which destroyed Kodak’s highly profitable film revenues…3025201510 5 0 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 Number of film and digital cameras sold in the United States.
Thus, the layoffs have continued up until now and today less than 10 000 people work for Kodak in Rochester.
Hence, about 50 000 jobs were lost in Rochester in the last 20 years. For a city with about 230 000 inhabitants it’s quite a big blow…
One mustn’t forget all jobs that were lost at those companies which sold goods and services to Kodak.
It would be strange if a city did not suffer from such a structural change…
… But nevertheless, Rochester has donereasonably well over these years and has not ended up as a ghost town.
One reason is that Kodak’s decline has taken place over a longer period of time.
Another reason might be that other large employers likeXerox have done rather well…
The University of Rochester has grown and become the largest employer in the city.
It seems that George Eastman’s donation turned out to be a good long term investment for the town.
Moreover, people can and do create their own jobs.
It seems that a city with a strong knowledge base and a critical mass of inhabitants can sometimes master big structural changes reasonably well.
While the great yellow days are fading away, Rochester seems to live on.