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MOVERS AND SHAKERS

Safilo Group


Claudio Gottardi

Claudio Gottardi, a long-term executive with the Safilo Group, whose most recent responsibilities were CEO of the company’s North & South America business, has resigned from the company. The company issued an announcement that said he had resigned from the group “to pursue new professional opportunities.”

The company also reported that James Ross Brownlee, a 12-year Safilo executive with wholesale and retail experience with the Group, would assume responsibility for the American markets. Responsibility for the Asian market formerly held by Brownlee will be assumed by Nicola Zotta, who during his 10 years in the Safilo Group has gained experience in European markets.

Carl Zeiss Vision International


Dr. Norbert Gorny

Carl Zeiss Vision International GmbH announced that its CEO, Dr. Norbert Gorny has left the company for personal reasons. Arne Frank, chairman of the advisory board of Carl Zeiss Vision, is acting as interim CEO and is leading the company together with the executive board members Klaus Leinmüller and Dr. Raymund Heinen, until a new long-term CEO has been appointed. Gorny was named CEO of Carl Zeiss Vision in October 2006. He was responsible for the integration of SOLA International, which Carl Zeiss Vision acquired in 2004.

Transitions Optical


Eric Zaretsky

Transitions Optical, Inc. has appointed Eric Zaretsky as chief financial officer. In this new role, Zaretsky will provide strategic leadership and direction related to finance and purchasing, and will become a key member of the Transitions Optical Global Leadership Council. Zaretsky joined Transitions from PPG Industries Inc. in 2007 as manager, business development.

Michael T. Ruggeri, most recently chief financial and administrative officer, Transitions, was named as business controller for the Optical and Specialty Materials segment, PPG Industries. In his new role, Ruggeri will provide leadership to financial planning and strategic business initiatives focused on profitable growth across the Optical and Specialty Materials segment of PPG Industries.


Michael T. Ruggeri

Alcon


Kevin Buehler

On April 1, Kevin Buehler will take over as president and chief executive officer of Alcon succeeding Cary Rayment, who retires on March 31. Rayment will continue to serve as a director and non-executive chairman of Alcon’s board. Buehler will also be nominated as a board member, which shareholders will vote on at the company’s annual general meeting May 5.

Buehler, a 24-year Alcon veteran, is currently senior vice president, global markets, and chief marketing officer of Alcon subsidiary Alcon Laboratories. He joined Alcon in 1984 as a regional sales manager in the consumer products division. Rayment joined Alcon when it acquired Coopervison Surgical in 1989; he has been president and chief executive officer of Alcon since October 2004, and chairman since May 2005.


Cary Rayment

VSP


Warren Meyer

VSP has appointed industry veteran Warren Meyer as vice president of laboratory operations, and will oversee the operations of VSP’s four wholly-owned optical laboratories. Meyer has been involved in the optical lab industry for more than 36 years. As an entrepreneur, he co-founded CustomEyes in 1989 and Perfect Optics in 2006. Meyer also served as vice president of operations for the western region of Essilor Labs from 2000-2003.

Charmant USA


Chris Allen

Charmant USA has appointed Chris Allen as South East Regional Manager. Allen has over 15 years’ experience in the optical industry, most recently as a sales consultant for Essilor. Chris previously held sales positions at the Charmant Group with the most recent as a District Manager. At Charmant, Chris also earned the Rep of the Year award in 2006 and Rookie of the Year award in 2005.

Davis Vision


Michael Ehrle

Davis Vision has named Michael Ehrle divisional vice president of sales for its northern division. In this new position, based in Chicago, Ehrle will contribute to Davis Vision’s national new business development. Before joining Davis Vision, Ehrle was national VP of specialty sales for UnitedHealth Group. He also worked for Spectera Vision for six years as an account executive and regional vice president.

Kenmark


Carla White

Sales Representative of the Year has been awarded to Carla White for her dedication to Kenmark and strong performance in sales throughout the year. The Sales Representative with the Most Sales Volume was awarded to Pat Gantt. The Consistent Exceptional Performance was awarded to Steve Mount. Kenmark’s Rising Star went to John Mancine. The Rookie of the Year was awarded to Dave Janssen for an outstanding first year at Kenmark.

Fund Started for Mike DiSanto


Mike DiSanto

Mike DiSanto, a well known eye care writer and educator, has been diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer. He has spent much of his long career teaching basic and continuing education courses to thousands of opticians, optometrists, ophthalmologists, lab personnel, customer service personnel, and vendor representatives. His educational materials and two books, TOPS and ABO Review Course, offered through the National Academy of Opticianry, help hundreds each year to prepare for certification.

DiSanto, who is self-employed, will be suffering a major loss of income while he fights for his life. A fund has been established to help him pay for medical and critical living expenses. Contributions can be made to: Michael DiSanto Fund, c/o Opticians Association of Ohio, 1100-H Brandywine Blvd., Zanesville Ohio, 43701-7303. Checks should be made payable to: Opticians Association of Ohio and the memo on the check should state: Michael DiSanto Fund.

Fritz Balester Passes Away


Fritz Balester

Fred (Fritz) Balester, former president and chairman of wholesale lab Balester Optical died on Tuesday, Jan. 13, at the Golden Living Nursing Center in Wilkes-Barre, PA. He was 85 years old.

Balester was born on Dec. 14, 1923, in Wilkes-Barre. He served in the Marine Corps during World War II, and fought in the Pacific, including Guadalcanal and New Britain. After returning from military service, he joined Balester Optical in Wilkes-Barre, which was founded by his father, Fred J. Balester, Sr., in 1934. Initially, Balester was involved in sales, and later in his career served as president and chairman of the board. His daughter, Heather, currently serves as president of the lab.

Balester is survived by his wife of 62 years, Alison Garland Balester, Kingston, Pa. and Tampa, Fla.; his brother, James W. Balester, Kingston, Pa; five children: Heather Balester, Wilkes-Barre, Pa; Dr. Valerie Balester, College Station, Texas; Jonathan Balester, Shavertown, Pa.; Matthew Balester, Clifton Springs, N.Y.; and Marc Balester, Austin, Texas; eight grand-children; and by seven nieces and nephews.

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