Jim Eisen Assumes Full CEO Role for HVHC, Parent Co. of Visionworks and Davis Vision

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Jim Eisen.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas—David Holmberg, president and CEO of Highmark Health, has announced that Jim Eisen will immediately assume full CEO responsibilities of HVHC Inc., which includes Visionworks and Davis Vision, among other divisions. With the move, the company said that Eisen will also remain president of Visionworks, and Celina Davis will remain president of Davis Vision.

This follows Eisen’s role as co-CEO of HVHC, along with Michael Sullivan, since May 2014, when Holmberg was promoted to CEO of Highmark Health and when Sullivan was also appointed co-CEO of HVHC as well as CEO of HM Insurance Group (HMIG) and CEO of United Concordia Dental (UCD), as reported by VMail.

Sullivan will become president, Health Markets, leading Highmark’s total sales efforts for the Highmark Health Plan. He will be responsible for developing and executing a complete sales strategy across the Highmark Inc. platform, incorporating Highmark Health Plan, UCD, and HMIG. The sales and client management organization will report to Sullivan.

Eisen had previously been president of Visionworks, the result of the national rebranding of 16 different optical retail chain brands formerly run by Eye Care Centers of America (ECCA) when Highmark purchased ECCA in 2006. At the time, ECCA was operating 384 optical stores in 36 states.

Prior to joining Visionworks, Eisen was the senior vice president of store operations at Jo-Ann Stores Inc. He was also vice president of operations at Cole Licensed Brands, which included more than 1,200 Sears Optical, Target Optical and BJ's Wholesale clubs. He also held key positions with Zale Corporation.

“Jim's understanding of the retail business and the importance of managed vision care to the customer has allowed HVHC to make significant strides in strengthening our customer focus to truly meet their evolving needs,” said Holmberg, announcing the move earlier this week. “His proven experience will continue to help guide and position our organization for continued long-term success.”

A division of Highmark Health’s Diversified Businesses unit, HVHC includes Visionworks, the fourth largest U.S. optical retailer with 650 outlets; Davis Vision, the third largest U.S. managed vision care provider; and HVHC Distribution & Manufacturing. The company plans to add up to 50 Visionworks stores in 2015, a Highmark spokesperson told VMail.

HVHC has more than 9,000 employees and operates in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The company operates five U.S.-based manufacturing labs, two in Texas, two in New York State and one in Pennsylvania, that together fabricate over four million pairs of eyeglasses annually. Each Texas location is also a national Distribution Center. HVHC also includes UCD, the sixth largest dental insurance carrier in the U.S.; and HMIG, a leading stop loss insurance provider.

Holmberg said in the statement, “HVHC will continue to be a stand-alone, integrated vision business with retail, managed care, and manufacturing and distribution capabilities. The integration between and among these entities is very real; however, it is very much an ‘arm’s length’ business, with respect to the Health Plan, based on its customers and clients. With Mike’s move, Jim Eisen, currently co-CEO of HVHC, will assume full CEO responsibilities. Celina Burns, president, Davis Vision, and Mike Kincaid, CFO, will now report to Jim.”