Kodak loses a third board member this week

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A third member resigned this week from the Eastman Kodak board of directors.

The struggling film and digital camera maker revealed in a regulatory filing Thursday that Laura D. Tyson has left the board. The news, however, did not become public until late Friday afternoon.

Tyson’s resignation follows the departures of Herald Chen and Adam Clammer, whose resignations last week were made public earlier this week.

Chen and Clammer are both associated with investment firm KKR and joined the Kodak board in 2009, “after KKR bought $300 million of Kodak’s senior secured notes and warrants to buy 40 million of the company’s shares,” according to Reuters.

The resignations come as Kodak “struggles to raise new financing and sell part of its patent portfolio,” which an unnamed source told the Wall Street Journal has “stumbled in recent weeks.”

Tyson is a professor at the Walter A. Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, who served in the Clinton administration as chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1993 to 1995. Her service on the Kodak board began in 1997, and she currently serves on the boards of AT&T and Morgan Stanley.

The resignations are raising anxieties on Wall Street about the possibility of Kodak filing bankruptcy, a fear that has perpetuated a downward spiral of the company’s stock, which is down 87.88 percent in 2011.

Chart of Eastman Kodak stock, courtesy of CNNMoney
(Chart of Eastman Kodak (EK: NYSE), courtesy of CNNMoney)

“Kodak warned in November that it wouldn’t be able to keep funding its operations if it can’t raise new funds or sell the patents,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Bill Brandt, chief executive of the consulting firm Development Specialists, Inc., gave Reuters two possible reasons for the sudden exodus from the Kodak board.

“One, they could be about to file bankruptcy. Sometimes if you can see that decision coming, you bail before it happens, and avoid having to be part of a directors and officers liability suit,” he said. “Or, two, KKR may be trying to increase its stake in Kodak or bid on most of its patents. There would be a conflict of interest if KKR was doing that and its representatives stayed on the board.”

With the resignations, the Kodak board now has 11 members.

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