Leadership Changes at Refac Optical Group, ACON Exec Named Interim CEO


GLENDORA, N.J. and WASH D.C.–VMail has learned that several top management changes have taken place at Refac Optical Group, one of the leading optical retailers in the U.S.  Effective Aug. 25th, David Pierson, CEO of Refac, has resigned from the group, as has Carmen Nepa III, the group’s chief financial officer. Pierson’s role as CEO of Refac is being assumed on an interim basis by Drew Scielzo, an operating partner of ACON Investments, the private equity firm that acquired Refac in March 2011.

In addition, earlier this summer, in mid-July, George Gorman, who oversaw the U.S. Vision division of Refac, left the company. As of now, Scielzo is overseeing the operations of Refac’s U.S. Vision division.

Al Bernstein, president of Refac Group’s freestanding division, Nationwide Vision Group, remains in his role as president and CEO of that division. Refac acquired Arizona-based Nationwide Vision, in the fall of 2013, the deal closing in November 2013, as VMail previously reported.
Scielzo said that Bernstein and his management team will continue to lead the expansion of ROG’s freestanding strategy in Arizona through Nationwide Vision openings and working together with Scielzo and the ROG team to actively pursue other acquisitions in the freestanding store category.

As of August, 2014, U.S. Vision is operating within JCPenney, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Meijer, Sears, Boscov’s, and Hudson’s Bay. In 2014, U.S. Vision closed several underperforming stores including 30 JCPenney, 25 Sears, and 26 Macy’s, Scielzo said.

Despite the changes in the top management this month, ACON remains “committed to the long-term outlook for the company. We are also continuing to support our goal of acquisitions, particularly for our freestanding, Nationwide division,” said Scielzo. ACON is very bullish on the long term future of Refac.”

Refac Group was ranked seventh in Vision Monday’s most recent U.S. Top 50 Optical Retailers report, based on calendar year sales for the year ending December 2013.