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Dave Marshall ‘too old’ for Fujifilm

In an extraordinary move for a senior Australian company executive, departing Fujifilm photo imaging Chief Operating Officer, Dave Marshall, is bringing legal action against his colleagues CEO Takeshi Yanese and chairman Nobuhiko Koshimizu, accusing them of age discrimination under the Fair Work Act.

In a statement of claim filed in the Federal Court on September 18 by employment lawyer Judith Healy, Mr Marshall, 59, (pictured right) is suing the two for up to $1 million, alleging they sacked him for being ‘too old’. (This at least confirms Dave Marshall was indeed sacked, a fact the company has refused to officially confirm.)

While he was apparently dismissed in July, he doesn’t officially leave Fujifilm until early October. According to a report in the Australian Financial Review (the source of which is not referenced), he is seeking compensation for loss of income and benefits. He also wants $100,000 in damages for ‘distress and suffering’ as well as any civil penalties that the court imposes on the company, its CEO and chairman.

The AFR quotes his 2013 contract when he was bringing in $430,000 in salary a year, 14 per cent superannuation, a 10 per cent bonus, company vehicle, golf membership, private health insurance, plus payment of his home phone, internet and road tolls. 

He also wants $100,000 in damages for ‘distress and suffering’ as well as any civil penalties that the court imposes on the company, its CEO and chairman.

In addition, he is claiming $296,809 in severance benefits he claims Fujifilm refused to pay.

According to his statement of claim, from May 2017, Fujifilm began to exclude him from high-level client and executive meetings and decisions, moved him to smaller offices and disconnected his email.

He claims the chairman and former CEO Kevin Masuda, who has since died, repeatedly made discriminatory comments about his age.

At a dinner at Melbourne’s Rococo restaurant in 2015, he claims Mr Masuda  stood up and pointed at Mr Marshall, laughingly saying, ‘Dave is too old’ in front of clients.

This year, Mr Marshall claims, current chairman Nobuhiko Koshimizu repeatedly referred to himself  –  that is, Mr Koshimizu – in front of Mr Marshall as ‘old, like past 60, retirement age’.  He allegedly told him Fujifilm ‘wants you to find the next Mr Marshall’ and it was looking for a ‘young, strong’ team.

On May 18, during a dinner at Palace Hotel in Tokyo, the chairman allegedly said to Mr Marshall, ‘Dave, you and I are old too. We need a younger person to make [photo imaging] strong as a general manager.’ 

Mr Marshall claims this was said in front of the CEO Mr Yanese and thus resulted in his dismissal, and was unlawful adverse action.

He also complains the CEO excluded him from pricing negotiations, tenders, staffing issues and meetings with the CEOs of Harvey Norman and Fujifilm New Zealand.

The antipodean operations of Fujifilm have had an unhappy 2017 to date, with subsidiary Fuji Xerox wracked by a major accounting fraud scandal in New Zealand and Australia amounting to several hundred millions of dollars related in part to unrealistic ‘click fees’ for office copiers. 

Just last week – at the same time Mr Marshall was filing his unlawful adverse action claim – Fuji Xerox in New Zealand launched civil legal action against unnamed former senior executives. 

COMMENT: The ‘divorce’ between Dave Marshall and his employer of 18 years seems set to be a protracted and ugly one. Given the adversarial nature of legal action, it’s unlikely either side will emerge with untarnished reputations. 










  1. Sorry Dave Sorry Dave September 29, 2017

    Sorry Dave, but karma has caught up with you.

    Your decision to sell lab machines to Harvey Norman and Big W, which then starting screwing the prices down…karma

    “…trimming costs by denying specialists the kinds of substrates which could help them grow their businesses and motivate customers to print again.”…karma

    “Dave is too old’ in front of clients.” To old to change your ways, to old to help your customers, so bye bye Dave.

    “…and disconnected his email.” None of you clients want to talk to you anyway Dave, cause your too old to care.

  2. Larry Steiner Larry Steiner September 29, 2017

    In your email letter that introduced this you wrote: ” It could be argued that Dave Marshall is a mass market tactician in an industry which has become increasingly specialist in nature.”
    I think this is a key insight. I always felt that “wheeler dealers” who drive sales only with price are lazy and ultimately damage the overall business. You are correct in saying that Fuji in the US has supported independents in some way, not the least of which as a hedge for when mass merchants might abandon the category entirely. I just got back from the UK where I visited some shops with a Fuji consultant. It is clear that there is substantial support for independent shops there from Fuji and it is increasing.

  3. JJ JJ October 10, 2017

    hilariously ironic – Dave complaining about unfair dismissal! Most likely this is just a bargaining ploy, trying to get in first before the lawsuits that were about to filed against him.

  4. PS PS October 11, 2017

    It’s ironic how bitter and nasty the independents are towards Dave. Surely it can’t just be Harvey Norman, JB, Big W and Officeworks that know how Japanese companies operate and the cut throat ways they terminate senior execs. Anyone that hasn’t seen this play out time and time again is living in a bubble. Finally someone has the balls to make a stand, as an industry why not support Dave rather than speculate on the unknown, surely after 18 anyone deserves that regardless of personal feelings.

    • PG PG October 16, 2017

      As another said “karma” Dave didn’t care about independents, anyone that thinks otherwise is living in that “bubble” or has been the recipient of his largesse on too many occasions.

      That said I am sure that his fat wallet will keep him comfortable for his retirement.

      • PS PS October 16, 2017

        PG why do you feel a sense of entitlement? Why do you feel that Dave or anyone else has to look after you? You sound like a Melbourne Taxi driver when Uber launched. No introspection and quick to play the victim.
        I have shared many a dinner with Dave and your comments clearly show that you haven’t. If you had you would know that Dave is excessively generous to many causes, he would have donated more time and money each year that you could imagine. Fattening his wallet is far from reality. Try looking for the good in people rather than the bad.
        Unless you know the man and the situation stay quiet, your negativity is just unpleasant.

        • PG PG October 28, 2017

          I knew Dave from almost day one at Fuji, we shared common interests, but not always about business. Others obviously saw a different side and yes I shared dinners with him on a number of occasions.

          I have been involved in retail photo since the 70’s, still are, enjoy working with suppliers that have/had empathy for their customers. Dave’s empathy was shared with a select few as you know.

          PS PS I love Uber 🙂

  5. Click and collect Click and collect October 19, 2017

    It will be interesting when the court case starts. All the dirty laundry is going to come out…

    Nice of Dave to sully Kevins name too.

    • Keith Shipton Keith Shipton Post author | October 20, 2017

      It may turn out that this isn’t the only court case between Dave Marshall and Fujifilm. Then again, the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction could see issues settled away from the public eye, which would be in the best interests of the industry. At least I think so.

  6. S.M. S.M. October 20, 2017

    all this drama. this could end up on Judge Judy..

  7. Paul Clayton Paul Clayton November 15, 2017

    Children please ! Have some respect ! Karma has nothing to do with it. Anyway everyone knows that Karma is a drone now made by GoPro! Over the last 38 years that I have been in this industry I have never seen so many people hide behind their initials or pseudonyms to take a low poke at someone. Life is what we all make of it. Some will leave their mark, while others will be quickly forgotten. I salute Dave as man that took our industry into this century. If you don’t agree organise a Postal Vote on it? Move on guys. Enough has been said. Paul Clayton.

  8. John R John R November 16, 2017

    I admire Dave for the effort he put into Fujifilm and this industry. Support across a broad spectrum from the various supplier groups -PICA, IDEA, PIMA etc to support at a local level with the suburban minilab or camera store. Dave could see a future in specialty and involved us in his plans. Perhaps the lure of the mass solutions overwhelmed this attraction but it forced us to try harder to be successful. I always enjoyed the Fuji dinners and Dave was always ready to help out when we needed the support. Part of the reason that we are still going is the assistance that Dave gave in early years.

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