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Ned Bunnell to Retire as President of Pentax USA

President of Pentax Japan to be appointed as the new president · 09-12-2012 · By PF Staff in Pentax News
Ned Bunnell to Retire as President of Pentax USA

In a press release published just minutes ago, Pentax Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation (hereby referred to as Pentax USA) has announced that Ned Bunnell, who has served as the president of the company for over 7 years, will be stepping down and retiring at the end of this month.

Mr. Noboru Akahane, president of Pentax Ricoh Imaging in Japan (hereby referred to as Pentax Japan), will be assuming the role of president of Pentax USA as of October 1st, 2012.  In addition, Mr. James Malcolm will been appointed executive vice president of Pentax USA, and he will report directly to Mr. Akahane while taking on many of Bunnell's responsibilities.

We think that this sudden change in the corporate structure of Pentax USA means that Pentax Japan, now under Ricoh's leadership for about 1 year, is getting ready to start implementing Ricoh's overall plans for the company.  This is supported by the following statement from the press release:

"Most recently Mr. Malcolm has been working with Ricoh Company, Ltd. in Japan on the post-acquisition integration of PENTAX on a global basis. His insight and experience have set the direction and provided the vision needed to initiate management changes, including compliance with merger strategies."

While we have not heard any official news of Pentax products resulting directly from Ricoh's involvement with the company, it has been rumored that Ricoh is working behind-the-scenes to make Pentax a very competitive brand even in the pro DSLR market, while asking Pentax employees to  execute the remainder of Hoya's old product roadmap in the meantime.  We believe this quote foreshadows that the future holds what thousands of Pentax fans have been awaiting for years:

"There [is] a core group of PENTAX and RICOH fans here and we are confident to deliver high-quality products that will not only satisfy our current customers but also attract new customers through innovation and support of Ricoh’s global brand."

To our current members: please help us to extend a warm "thank you" to Ned for his service to Pentax USA over the course of the Pentax digital era.  We would like to wish him all the best!

Secondly, to those who have been disappointed by Pentax's recent announcement: let's give Ricoh a chance to execute their merger strategy and hopefully make a big comeback in the near future!

PF Staff's avatar
About the author: Various writers regularly contribute articles to the Pentax Forums homepage blog. More recent articles are published under each author's forum username. We hope you enjoy our guides and news coverage!

Tags: ned bunnell, pentax usa, pentax ricoh imaging

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agchang [Delete] Sep 18th, 2012 2:32AM

Ned, thank you very much for all your contributions with Pentax and best wishes to you on the chapter of your life. I continue to forward to you postings at Posterous.

hkiran1 [Delete] Sep 14th, 2012 11:36PM

You want the company to grow, you need money. That we have in India. What a pity that your dumb head market managers(frankly they should be sued, not only fired) decided to ignore one of the biggest markets in the world. That too with a range of equipments that will particularly suit the diversity of India.

Urkeldaedalus [Delete] Sep 14th, 2012 9:34AM

I'm just looking at this from the outside, but I doubt this came as a surprise to anyone at Pentax USA. It seems like they've been grooming this replacement for a little bit now. It will be interesting to see what other structural changes will happen across all of Pentax. In other words, end of Phase One, begin Phase Two.

As for Ned Bunnell, he will likely go down as one of the few CEO's ever whose blogs I sought out to check up on, and I think that says quite a lot about his accessibility to the Pentax community. Enjoy your retirement Mr. Bunnell, you will be missed.

felixkh [Delete] Sep 14th, 2012 1:57AM

Thanks Ned for the great insights you have shared with all the Pentax products as the President of Pentax USA.

I hail from sunny Singapore where we are represented by a distributor instead of Pentax itself.

GlennG [Delete] Sep 13th, 2012 5:52PM

Best wishes to Mr. Bunnell upon his upcoming retirement. And thank you to him for the guidance and continuity through all the changes over the past 7 years - quite a lot or so it would appear.

I for one am pleased to receive this type of information here on the forum. I believe that how organizations are staffed is indicative of their intended directions and this may affect my buying decisions. This organizational development, I think, further solidifies Pentax for the future.

jmarkku [Delete] Sep 13th, 2012 2:42PM

I am not interested to read any local organizational changes at Penax/Ricoh on this forum. Albeit it might be of interest to some folks, please focus on the product.

DragonLord [Delete] Sep 13th, 2012 11:36AM

Ned, thank you for your stewardship of the brand as you brought Pentax into the digital age. As Mr. Malcolm and Mr. Akahane prepare to take over, let us celebrate as we begin a new era for Pentax.

glanglois [Delete] Sep 13th, 2012 9:05AM

For Malcolm as a photographer, please see: fineartamerica dot com/profiles/jim-malcolm.html

Pablom [Delete] Sep 13th, 2012 8:57AM

I seems to me that the new Pentax is taking more seriously the overseas market, including the very poor share they have in north America.

glanglois [Delete] Sep 13th, 2012 7:34AM

Please note that Malcolm started his career by opening shop as a photographer, per his resume on linkedin. That business was open for about six years before he went to Leaf, followed by Sony.

D1N0 [Delete] Sep 13th, 2012 7:05AM

He looks old enough to be retiring to me, so what's the drama? He'll have more time on his hands to enjoy life. Never heard of him before he was retiring.(living in Europe that's no surprise).

FruitLooPs [Delete] Sep 13th, 2012 4:18AM

Thanks for all that you've accomplished at and for Pentax over the years Ned. I hope the brand stays loyal to it's customer base and what I perceive as its core values: A brand that offers a serious amount of quality kit for the money, listens to its customers requirements wherever possible and doesn't cut corners or cripple equipment for revenue gains. Pentaxians know they're onto a good thing, fingers crossed it stays that way!

0rangepeel [Delete] Sep 12th, 2012 10:36PM

Thank you for all the hard work Ned. I really enjoyed the blog posts and how you showed that the people at the top of companies can be down to earth with the products; more so than management focusing solely on driving revenue/sales. Good luck with your other endevours!

Mattp9 [Delete] Sep 12th, 2012 9:40PM

Big thanks to Ned for being the photographer's voice in the midst of corporate takeovers, mergers and marketing mania. I look forward to seeing your future postings at Posterous or elsewhere.

As for Pentax/Ricoh, I hope for innovation as well as a FF that competes and gives me a home for my superb lens collection.

goldenarrow [Delete] Sep 12th, 2012 8:36PM

Beware consultants with long resumes. They will "Consult" you, then take all your money.....

Medium FormatPro [Delete] Sep 12th, 2012 8:34PM

Most executives and upper managers receive quite the "portion of money" when a company elects to get rid of them. But also notice the interesting present timeline - todays date - versus the fact that he is also staying till the end of the month. If it would have been more of a need they would have gotten rid of him sooner.

Either way, Ned will most likely be taken care of financially and/or he will also likely be scooped up by some sort of imaging or electronic company.

As for the replacement; no perspective from me on that one yet. But there are always the questions that it does raise. Would it be better for Pentax/Ricoh to place an established person in the photography community into that position, someone with somewhat related experience, or perhaps even better - someone with no experience at all - which would indicate the need for massive change.

Might I also add. The word on the floor should be interesting at the trade show in Germany. Comapnies like Sigma are also looking to make large scale changes with their camera line - and they actually have the ability to do so faster than Pentax. I personally like a lot of the newly released products, but also wonder if Pentax will be able to adapt fast enough.

MSM [Delete] Sep 12th, 2012 8:11PM

Wow, that's surprising. He just posted yesterday about the new K5II without the AA filter. Thanks for your efforts Ned and good luck.

I wonder why PRI didn't just promote 'Shaggy' from all the great Pentax Youtube infovideos. ;-)

Docrwm [Delete] Sep 12th, 2012 7:04PM

Malcolm is an old Sony guy. The rest of his resume is standard consultant bs, verbose but meaningless. After Sony he stated his own consulting company and ran it for 3 years. Then landed Ricoh as a client to facilitate the integration of Pentax. Now he's functionally in charge of Pentax USA. Do we know whose bright idea Maxumum Assured Pricing was at PRIC? This guy has been advising them on "elimination of redundant costs, internal and external communication improvements, brand strategy," since 2011. We shall see what this brings.

sb in ak [Delete] Sep 12th, 2012 6:05PM

I agree with LaurenOE...perhaps he pushed back a few too many times. Whatever the case, thanks, Ned, and good luck with your future endeavors.

Cambo [Delete] Sep 12th, 2012 5:27PM

Thanks, Ned, for being a great representative for Pentax, and best wishes in all your future endeavours, which I imagine will include photographing with your new K3 FF and the 560mm F 5.6 lens they're giving you as a going away present! ;>)
Cameron Hood

dmytty [Delete] Sep 12th, 2012 5:20PM

No thanks to Ned (assuming he was responsible in some part for the drive towards mediocrity).

Perhaps there's light at the end of the tunnel. I would expect that there's a few more upper management cuts to be made - albeit the type that don't result in a press release.

I'm guessing it was the 'HD' moniker for the new lens coating that did it. All the technical stuff might not allow for a president's personal input, but 'HD' was a marketing term that he should have flat out rejected (here's hoping that wasn't Ricoh's idea!)

Personally, I'm still a bit worried that Ricoh might end up being rather dull and follow a 'me too' strategy. Guess we will know in the next 12 months or so.

LaurenOE [Delete] Sep 12th, 2012 5:01PM

There is a story here. I know Ned was trying to get his new DA limited case into production. I knew he was trying hard. The new guy will "Initiate management changes, including compliance with merger strategies". Translated - Ned pushed back once too many times. If Carlson goes too, then Pentax USA will not be the same company in a few years. I wonder if the move into downtown Denver has anything to do with it. Oh well.

zosxavius [Delete] Sep 12th, 2012 4:54PM

Will he run a blog and talk about how awesome his leica is?

glanglois [Delete] Sep 12th, 2012 3:55PM

For background:
Please see jimmalcolm at that linkedin site.

I was pleased to see that "His experience employs a unique taxonomy germane to entrepreneurial, B2B, emerging and consumer sectors." Well, I was pleased until I tried to imagine how experience employs taxonomy but that just shows my lack of education.

In another vein, he resume includes serious product management and marketing roles as well as that of a photography entrepreneur.

Welcome, Jim!

glanglois [Delete] Sep 12th, 2012 3:35PM

All the best, Ned. You did a fine job with the tools you were given. I'm sure that seven years under three different management regimes was ..... challenging. We appreciate what you did for us!

Ubuntu_user [Delete] Sep 12th, 2012 3:28PM

Thank you, Ned. Appreciate all your work with Pentax USA.
This news deserves to be celebrated over—not the fact that Ned's stepping out, but that Pentax USA is going to be directly connected in with Pentax Japan. Great move. Yay, yay, yay!!!

philbaum [Delete] Sep 12th, 2012 3:24PM

Good luck to Ned and thanks for all his work with Pentax.

aurele [Delete] Sep 12th, 2012 3:05PM

Thank for everything Ned
, best wishes and happy retirement !

filoxophy [Delete] Sep 12th, 2012 3:03PM

Agree with DeadJohn. Sounds like Ned did his best and I hold absolutely nothing against him, but this definitely signals that Ricoh/Pentax is serious about making changes and competing. Good news in my book.

DeadJohn [Delete] Sep 12th, 2012 2:59PM

This announcement makes me more optimistic for the future of Pentax (at least in the USA) than all the K-5ii, DA560, etc. announcements.

Steelski [Delete] Sep 12th, 2012 2:45PM

I think Ned revived a great big bonus at the end of his career for Pentax not to loose face when he said he wanted out.......
Or he just retired and decided to be happy with the accomplishments he has and be with his family....

rfortson [Delete] Sep 12th, 2012 2:15PM

So long and good luck, Ned. I enjoyed your interaction with the customers and Pentaxians. I know people liked to complain about you, but I appreciated the job you did.

Tanzer [Delete] Sep 12th, 2012 2:14PM

Thank you Ned, and best wishes.