Turbulence at the top of 3D printing reflects wider changes

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Reichental has undergone his ‘exit stage left’ from 3D Systems

Yesterday saw the announcement that Avi Reichental has stepped down as president and CEO, and even his position as a director, at 3D Systems through ‘mutual consent’.

As most sports fans understand the term, ‘mutual consent’ (or even its latest incarnate, ‘consciously uncoupled’) means someone got the boot, and following some tough times for 3D Systems on the stock markets, sure enough the board of directors have given Avi the heave-ho.

It’s another marker for an industry that has undergone sweeping changes over the last 12 months since then MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis stepped down from his post. Now two of the most recognisable figures that had ridden the industry boom are gone, to be replaced with business-focussed choices.
For MakerBot this meant a large ‘cost efficiency’ push, reducing the number of staff, changing where machine parts were made, and altering its scope from an open source community plaything, to a focussed tool for designers.

It’s expected that the changes to 3D Systems – a much larger company – will be even more wide ranging as it hopes to reaffirm its place in the market, continuing to push away from its costly pop star endorsed consumer machines mantra to industrial machines for professionals and end-use parts.

With the market no longer a two horse race – filling up with established brands like HP and Canon, and new blood from Carbon3D and Prodways – the pressures have never been greater.


As the 3D printing industry prepares to converge in Frankfurt for its annual tradeshow, the entire face of the market is changing, and as we predicted back in January, the market has opened up much more, with a focus on end-use parts.

Removing the head of the company is the most blatant change a company can make, and the next year should be an interesting time for 3D Systems and the rest of the 3D printing market.

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