Change has been the only constant at Hasselblad over the past several years. In 2015, Chinese drone-maker DJI purchased a minority stake in the company, providing a needed cash infusion to help with the firm’s turnaround efforts. That was followed by the purchase of a larger stake and then the departure of CEO Perry Oosting, who was credited with helping right the ship after years of drift.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Hasselblad U.S. President Michael Hejtmanek at WPPI to discuss the future of the Swedish camera maker as it grows closer to China’s DJI.
“The relationship has evolved,” Hejtmanek says. While he couldn’t specify the precise legal arrangement between the two firms, he did say that DJI capital and expertise is helping Hasselblad overcome the difficulties it had meeting demand for the X1D. “They helped us retool, they helped us with relationships and engineering support and with the supply chain,” Hejtmanek says. “They’re a company that has been through what we’re going through and they know how to manufacture at scale.”
The DJI partnership will also allow Hasselblad to push forward with its product roadmap. “The X1D is just the beginning,” Hejtmanek says.
So with DJI playing a deeper role in Hasselblad, how does the company plan on preserving the “core DNA” that former CEO Perry Oosting spoke of last year? “Our product management teams in Sweden remain in place,” Hejtmanek says. “They have over 30 years of experience, they’re veterans of the company and keepers of the brand. It’s very important for us to stand by the” legacy of company founder, Viktor Hasselblad, he adds.
That said, the two companies are working very closely on aerial imaging products. In the summer of 2016, the two showed off one such integration: a DJI M6000 drone outfitted with Hasselblad’s A5D aerial medium format camera. At WPPI 2017, DJI was showing an H6D mounted to a Ronin on an M6000 drone.
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“There’s no formal roadmap, but we have integrated our cameras on their drones and we’re working on software integration” between the two platforms, Hejtmanek notes.
Hasselblad is now under the leadership Paul Bram, whom Hejtmanek describes as an operations expert. “Perry Oosting had gotten us back on track and refocused and now Paul Bram is positioned to support this new phase of growth.”
About that, Hejtmanek says Hasselblad is finally fulfilling X1D back orders and in meeting demand for the H6D-100c. “We’re now in a good place.”