When Lucas Covers joined XL Video last year as CEO, founder and board member René de Keijzer (also commonly spelled “de Keyzer,” though he assures us “de Keijzer” is the correct Dutch spelling) took on a somewhat new role as founder-president, responsible for strategic projects and global sales. With that shift came de Keijzer’s decision to take over leadership of XL Video’s US business, based in Atlanta, with an additional office in Los Angeles.
We caught up with de Keijzer just before his move to the US from Belgium.
1. Tell us a little bit about the changes happening at XL.
I’m moving to Atlanta—and actually have already been working there—and will base XL US there. XL Video will have been operating in the US for 20 years next year. I’m going to concentrate on a couple of things internally, organizationally to function better, and I’m very anxious to see how we’re operating in the US market. Of course, I’ve always seen it from a distance, so I’m looking forward to it.
XL Video is perceived as an LED company, and we are going to be broader than that. We will become video specialists, meaning we will also concentrate on all the other elements of the video rental market. There are both internal and external challenges as well.
2. Are there specific markets that you’re targeting in which to expand?
Basically, we are known mostly for LED, so we will be more active in a broader field, like in projection, media servers, camera packages—everything video. We do things with lighting, but that’s not our core business. Another thing I see with LED is that the market has grown tremendously, the prices are coming down, and there’s huge price elasticity. The market is becoming bigger and bigger, and there are huge installations for LED, so even in that respect, if you look at LED only, a lot has changed. It’s a very dynamic market place that will demand us to do a couple things differently.
3. What changes will be immediately evident at XL?
We are trying not to rock the boat too much. We’ve had some changes in the US in the past, but I want to create a stable environment, where people feel motivated and can excel. I don’t want to come in and change things dramatically. I just want to understand what we are doing and, of course, how the American market is working because there are differences compared to Europe, and then make sure that we are making the best decisions and sharpen our game. We have very loyal customers that have been with us many, many years. We have very good relationships that I don’t want to risk, but obviously, we would like to grow the business and improve what we’re doing, so yes, I will make changes but not a drastic turnaround.
4. What’s on the horizon for XL in the next year or even five years?
What I see short-term is that we’ll spend more time, money, and energy on more than just LED. We will be very heavily invested in LED, as well, but we’ll put emphasis on other areas, like media servers and projectors, but I’d also like to focus on the know-how of the company as well as the products we own. We want to create an environment where people choose us not only because we own certain products but also because we have the knowledge.
I also want to make sure that we have the right people in the right place, so we’ll get a bit more talent, maybe bring some people over to the US. My absolute conviction is that we don’t have a fair share of the market compared to what we’ve established in Europe, and I don’t want to keep things in the U.S. the way they are at the moment.
5. Are there specific brand partnerships you want to develop?
In the past, we’ve almost exclusively worked with Barco, but there are other manufacturers and also demand in the US for other brands, as far as projection is concerned. As far as media servers, there are so many brands that it’s almost a jungle out there, and companies are changing, as well, and there are new stars on the horizon. As far as LED is concerned, we have a lot of new products, including a hybrid product [Radiant MC-18 Hybrid LED]—lighting combined with LED—with lighting directly incorporated into LED screens, which is now on Kings of Leon.