Lukas Ruecker
Luxottica Names Lukas Ruecker President of EyeMed Vision Care

MILAN, Italy and CINCINNATI, Ohio— Luxottica Group S.p.A. announced that Lukas Ruecker has been named president of EyeMed Vision Care, a division of the company, and the U.S.’ second largest vision benefits company.

In the role, Ruecker succeeds Liz DiGiandomenico, president and general manager at EyeMed for almost 10 years, who will take on a new role within Luxottica’s global business development team.

The company’s announcement said, “Under Liz’s leadership, EyeMed experienced extraordinary growth, increasing the member base from six million to almost 36 million Americans in funded vision plans. In addition, DiGiandomenico was instrumental in creating EyeMed’s partnership network with the largest managed care organizations in the nation. Luxottica is grateful to Liz for her tenure at EyeMed and her contribution to building it into a primary player in its industry.”

“EyeMed is at a critical juncture in its evolution, and it’s the fastest-growing vision benefits company in the U.S.,” said Andrea Guerra, CEO of Luxottica Group. “We are ready to move forward and believe that Lukas has the right experience and mindset to lead EyeMed into a new stage of growth in collaboration with Luxottica’s other divisions. Lukas’ creativity, energy and drive have always produced impressive results at Luxottica.”

Added Ruecker, “I am proud to be at Luxottica and to lead EyeMed because I believe in the company’s potential to become the nation’s first choice for vision benefits and to reshape the expectations of benefit buyers and members. EyeMed is well positioned to grow membership and better serve its members, clients and providers through innovation and quick adaptation to new channels.”

Ruecker, an M.I.T. graduate who spent the first part of his career as management consultant with McKinsey & Company, joined Luxottica in 2009 from Staples where he was vice president of strategy, new channels and emerging markets. In his first four years at Luxottica, as senior vice president of strategy, Ruecker led business development, corporate marketing and e-commerce, contributing to major innovations and key partnerships in many parts of the organization, as well as involvement in OneSight, according to the company.

William Krueger
Vision-Ease Lens Names William Krueger EVP of Sales and Marketing

RAMSEY, MINN.—Vision-Ease Lens (VEL) named William Krueger as its new executive vice president of sales and marketing. With an eye on global trends and providing value to customers, Krueger brings nearly 30 years of business experience to the ophthalmic lens manufacturer, according to an announcement from the company.

As executive vice president of sales and marketing, Krueger will lead the company’s worldwide sales, marketing and business development efforts. Vision-Ease Lens employs 1,000 people worldwide and distributes lens products through retail chains and wholesale laboratories across North and South America, Europe and Africa.

“For Vision-Ease to succeed, we need to offer our customers creative and proactive solutions that evolve with the optical market,” said Doug Hepper, president and CEO of Vision-Ease Lens. “Bill is an expert in global business growth, with significant experience in managing global sales and marketing. He will enhance our customer relationships through his expertise.”

Before joining Vision-Ease Lens, Krueger was vice president and general manager–global group at GOJO Industries, a skin health and hygiene solutions company known for inventing Purell hand sanitizer. His other previous experience includes sales, planning, and research and development positions during 18 years at PPG Industries. His last position with the company was general manager of the $600 million North American Refinish Coatings division.

“Vision-Ease is positioned to grow as a global eye- care leader,” Krueger said. “I look forward to using my background to build Vision-Ease’s business globally to increase the company’s share of the worldwide market.”

Krueger graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in chemistry, and holds an MBA from Baldwin Wallace University.

Abby Houtman
Davis Vision Names Abby Houtman Director of National Accounts

SAN ANTONIO, Texas—Managed vision care company, Davis Vision, a wholly owned subsidiary of Highmark’s HVHC Inc., has named Abby Houtman director of national accounts. She joins Davis with over 15 years of experience providing vision care benefit solutions as regional director of sales with EyeMed Vision Care, a division of Luxottica Group.

Donna Geringer, who was named Davis Vision’s senior vice president for exchanges, national accounts and network development said, “Abby is an experienced sales professional and leader in developing and servicing new accounts. I am thrilled that she has joined the Davis Vision sales team. We are pleased that as a seasoned industry expert she has chosen to partner with Davis Vision as we leverage our 50-year integrated delivery model and advance our EyeCare Reframed strategy. Our focus is on demystifying the business of vision benefits and expanding the benefits value that Davis Vision brings to our clients and members.”

Houtman will play a critical role in leading Davis Vision’s national and emerging market strategy, targeting new business development in key markets across the country. “I’m thrilled to join Davis Vision during this dynamic period in health and vision care reform,” said Houtman. “Their affordable vision coverage, network of quality independent providers and retail optical stores, and industry leadership were all factored into my decision to join this innovative, growing organization.”

Paul G. Howes
Prevent Blindness America Announces New Chair and Members to its National Board of Directors

CHICAGO—After holding their Annual Board Meeting here on Nov. 9, 2013, Prevent Blindness America (PBA) has announced the election of Paul G. Howes as the new chairperson of PBA’s national board of directors. Also elected at the meeting were two new board members, Torrey DeKeyser, executive director of the EyeSight Foundation of Alabama and Mike Daley, optical labs division liaison of The Vision Council.

Howes joined the national board of directors in 2004 and has served in various leadership roles over the years, including the executive committee, PBA said. He will take over as board chair with more than 25 years of experience in commercial strategy, product development in pharmaceuticals and medical devices, as well as ophthalmic industry experience.

DeKeyser, who joined EyeSight in 1999, joins the board following a 20-year career with the University of Alabama in the areas of university advancement and administration. DeKeyser belongs to the National Eye Institute’s VISION Network, is involved with the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research and the Priory in the USA of the Order of St. John and has served on the PBA government affairs committee.

Daley has served the optical industry for more than 40 years, having been president and CEO of Essilor of America’s U.S. Lens Division, known as Essilor Lenses, and later joining The Vision Council in 2012. Daley served on the PBA Florida board of governors from 2003 to 2006, and in 2006 joined the PBA national board of directors, where he served a full term. He will rejoin the board as well as serve on the PBA development committee. ■