John Visentin, the vice chairman and CEO of Xerox, perhaps best known for attempting to acquire a larger manufacturer competitor just prior to the pandemic, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday due to complications from an ongoing illness, the company revealed. He was 59.
Since joining Xerox in May 2018, Mr. Visentin was a “visionary leader who navigated the company through unprecedented times and challenges,” the company wrote. “Well-known and respected throughout the industry, his strategy ensured Xerox’s leadership position in office and production print technology and expanded the company into helping solve secular challenges with innovative solutions.”
Mr. Visentin was passionate about his workforce and an inclusive leader known for his “One Boat, One Team” call to action and mentality.
James Nelson, chairman of Xerox’s board of directors, said, “Since joining the company in May 2018, John drove Xerox forward. As a champion for innovation, he embraced and enhanced Xerox’s legacy as a print and services provider and embarked on a transformative journey that broadened the company’s expertise and offerings to digital and IT services, financial services and disruptive technologies. John’s drive, energy and commitment to the business and its customers, partners and employees will be greatly missed.”
Steve Bandrowczak, Xerox’s president and COO since 2018, will serve as Interim CEO. Bandrowczak currently develops and executes the global operations strategy for Xerox, the company’s business support functions, including business strategy, product and service delivery and information technology, as well as the company’s newly formed software and innovation businesses.
“We are all greatly saddened by this tragic news and are keeping his family at the forefront of our thoughts in this difficult time,” said Bandrowczak. “John’s vision was clear, and the Xerox team will continue fulfilling it, not only to deliver on our commitments to our shareholders, customers and partners, but also to pursue John’s legacy.”
Nelson added: “Steve has the active and full support of the board of directors and the entire management team in carrying out his duties.”
A graduate of Concordia University in Montreal, Mr. Visentin spent more than 25 years with IBM in various roles. He also worked with HPE for nearly two years and had stints with other technology and investment firms, including Novitex Enterprise Solutions, where he served as executive chairman and CEO.
Known for bold and aggressive strokes, Mr. Visentin took over as CEO of Xerox in May of 2018 behind the backing of Carl Icahn, the company’s largest shareholder. He was perhaps best known for the attempted $35 billion hostile takeover bid for HP, launched in November of 2019. The courtship garnered headlines for nearly six months before Mr. Visentin announced he was suspending the quest in the spring of 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
He also authored an internal three-year cost-cutting plan during 2020 in the face of dwindling print demand.
Mr. Visentin is survived by his wife and five daughters.