John Visentin, who as chief executive led Xerox through the pandemic at a time when demand for printed documents and ink waned, died on Tuesday. He was 59.
Mr. Visentin, who became chief executive of the photocopying and technology company in May 2018 and was also the vice chairman, died of “complications from an ongoing illness,” the company said in a statement. The statement did not say where he died. A spokesman for Xerox did not share details about that illness or say whether Mr. Visentin told the company about it.
The company said that Steve Bandrowczak, the president and chief operating officer at Xerox, will serve as its interim chief executive.
“John’s vision was clear, and the Xerox team will continue fulfilling it — not only to deliver on our commitments to our shareholders, customers and partners, but also to pursue John’s legacy,” Mr. Bandrowczak said in a statement.
Before occupying the top position at Xerox, Mr. Visentin was steeped in the world of technology and business: He worked as an adviser to the chairman at Exela Technologies, an automation company, and was an operating partner for Advent International, a private equity firm.
After joining Xerox, he sought to broaden the company’s offerings. For years, Xerox had been known as a hub for office technology, especially its xerographic copier, or Xerox machine — a ubiquitous, bulky product that commercialized the process of making photographic copies onto paper.
Mr. Visentin turned more attention “to digital and I.T. services, financial services and disruptive technologies,” James Nelson, the chairman of Xerox’s board of directors, said in a statement.
Under Mr. Visentin’s helm, the company also tried to make inroads in 3-D printing.
His selection as chief executive in 2018 was preceded by Xerox’s decision to call off its merger deal with Fujifilm of Japan, after reaching a settlement with a shareholder activist and another major investor who sharply opposed the deal.
In November 2019, Xerox made a takeover offer to HP, a business synonymous with printers, in an effort to combine the two companies and cut costs.
The merger was supported by Mr. Visentin, who appeared to believe that the industry needed some sort of consolidation in order to appease shareholders concerned about the accelerating erosion of the traditional printing business.
The deal deteriorated after HP found that the cash-and-stock offer from Xerox undervalued the company. Later that month, it formally turned down the takeover offer, dealing a blow to Mr. Visentin’s business plans.
Giovanni Visentin was born on Oct. 23, 1962. A graduate of Concordia University in Montreal, he began his career at IBM, according to his LinkedIn profile. He worked there for more than 20 years and then moved to HP. From 2013 to 2017, he was the chief executive of Novitex Enterprise Solutions, according to his company biography.
Xerox described Mr. Visentin in its statement as a leader “who navigated the company through unprecedented times and challenges.”
He is survived by his wife and five daughters.
Jesus Jiménez and Maia Coleman contributed reporting.