The Mentors Radio Show

The Mentors Radio Show


311. When Success Becomes the Enemy: How Kodak Lost Its Way, with Host Dan Hesse and Guest Bill Zollars

March 10, 2023


In today’s episode, Host Dan Hesse talks with Bill Zollars, former YRC CEO and a 24-year veteran of Eastman Kodak during the company’s heyday. The story of how Kodak, the third most powerful brand in the world, lost its way and ended up in bankruptcy remains so shocking on the surface that its journey is studied in business schools worldwide. There have been accounts in academic and business journals written about the demise of Kodak, but none with the anecdotes and insider’s view that Bill shares.


Zollars adds color to Kodak’s journey with personal anecdotes of Kodak Moments and his unique insights into what was really going on behind the camera. 


The lessons learned from the Kodak saga are applicable to any company – particularly those that think “this could never happen to us”.


After graduating Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Minnesota, Bill joined Eastman Kodak where he held roles in Finance, Strategic Planning, Marketing, Logistics and General Management during a 24-year career. Bill left Kodak to establish the Integrated Logistics business at Ryder Systems and grew it from $300 million to $1.5 Billion in 3 years. He later became President of Yellow Freight and two years later was promoted to Chairman, President, and CEO of YRC Freight, a company he grew from $1 billion to $10 billion in revenue and into the Fortune 250 during his 12-year tenure as CEO.


He serves on the boards of Cigna, Prologis and several private company boards, and was Chairman of Cerner until it was sold to Oracle in 2022. He is also in his third year as a Governor of the U.S. Postal Service.


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