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
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
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
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
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
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.
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 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 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.
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, 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
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;
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.