Former Qualcomm Exec Named CEO of Color Printing Technology Developer

1/4/10Follow @bvbigelow

The other shoe dropped today with regard to Len J. Lauer, who announced his resignation before Christmas as Qualcomm’s chief operating officer, which is ostensibly the No. 2 executive post at the San Diego wireless giant.

Lauer was named as the president and chief executive officer of Memjet, a privately held company developing innovative color printing technology. A spokeswoman says Lauer plans to remain in San Diego as the first CEO to preside over Memjet’s related companies, which includes Memjet Home & Office, Memjet Labels, Memjet Photo Retail, and Memjet Wide Format. The company is controlled by Argonaut Private Equity of Tulsa, OK.

It’s a curious move, to say the least. Before joining Qualcomm three years ago, Lauer had served in various roles at Kansas City-based Sprint since 1998, including chief operating officer, a role he kept after Sprint merged with Nextel. He was previously the president and CEO of Bell Atlantic-New Jersey, and had spent more than 10 years with IBM.

Why would Lauer, a telecom and infotech industry veteran, jump to a company holding 2,600 patents related to “breakthrough color printing technology?”

In a prepared statement relayed by Memjet spokeswoman Kay Paumier, Lauer explains: “I’ve seen small companies disrupt big industries before and I believe Memjet has the potential to change the printing industry. I’m excited to bring my operational and technology commercialization expertise to Memjet, which is on the verge of commercialization. The opportunity to lead this up-and-coming organization at such a significant point in its development is a unique and thrilling opportunity. Although my recent experience is in the telecommunications field, I spent almost a decade at IBM. This is really about new technology for me.”

Paumier says Memjet is incorporated in Ireland, but has operations in many countries, including the United States, Australia and Singapore. Paumier says Memjet’s U.S. businesses are located in San Diego and Boise, ID.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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