(L to R) Eric Anderson, Jeff Fronterhouse and Matt Matthews.
DALLAS—Riata Capital Group (Riata), the investment firm that owns Acuity Eyecare Group, announced this morning that Eric Anderson has been appointed chief executive officer of Acuity Eyecare, effective today. Anderson was elected to Acuity Eyecare’s board of directors as of October 2017, according to the announcement. Anderson most recently was executive vice president at Fossil Group, where he led a $3 billion multi-brand licensed portfolio, and he is a former president and general manager of the LensCrafters North America unit of Luxottica. Anderson is recognized by his colleagues for a collaborative leadership style, a drive for results and the ability to build strong, diverse teams, according to the Acuity announcement.

Jeff Fronterhouse, a managing partner of Riata Capital, said Acuity is “excited to welcome Eric Anderson to the Acuity family as our new CEO. He is a proven industry leader who brings tremendous optical experience, a strategic vision for growth and a relentless focus on developing great talent.”

Acuity was formed by Riata Capital in March 2017, and operates more than 70 optometry locations across eight states, as of March 1. It is a leading North American eyecare group, and also owns a large full-service digital lab operation, The First Look Lab, which is located outside of St. Louis. Earlier this year, Acuity announced several additions to its leadership team, including four new executives on its senior management team, as VMAIL reported.

Fronterhouse also noted that Anderson has had a positive impact in his short time as a board member. “We were able to see Eric’s impact firsthand and recognize that his world-class leadership will be critical to realizing our future potential in the marketplace,” he said. “Eric shares our passion for growth and people, which is instrumental as we continue to expand our market-leading platform.”

In addition to his roles at Fossil and LensCrafters, Anderson has more than three decades of business and optical industry success, spanning multi-billion dollar companies across both domestic and international markets. He spent almost 20 years at Luxottica in several leadership positions, including serving as chief executive officer and general manager of GMO Opticas in Santiago, Chile; senior vice president and general manager of Target Optical; vice president of marketing and business development for Pearle Vision; and vice president at Sunglass Hut.

In today’s announcement, Anderson said, “I am energized by the positive impact the optical business has on our patients and customers, and the amazing associates and doctors that make that possible. I feel honored to be joining the Acuity team and to have the opportunity to be part of an organization that embraces these ideals as we chart our path for strategic growth.”

He added, “I’m also looking forward to further building upon a strong leadership team with diverse backgrounds and experiences, and a proven track record of success.”

Riata also announced that Matt Matthews, who was chief executive of Acuity, will transition into a business development executive role, and will continue to support Acuity through his strong industry relationships and involvement with the Acuity board of directors. Matthews, the former chief executive officer of Crown Vision Center, led the early integration of the initial three regional eyecare groups that were acquired to form Acuity. (In addition to Crown, the other two groups acquired were Eyetique of Pittsburgh and International Eyecare Center of Quincy, Ill.)

Crown Vision was ranked among the largest optical retailers by Vision Monday last year in The Top 50 U.S. Optical Retailers report.

“We are appreciative of Matt’s contributions managing through the initial formation and integration of Acuity,” Fronterhouse noted. “He agreed to serve as CEO our first year as a company and his extensive optical experience has been important in building our capabilities.”

Fronterhouse said the recent leadership changes at Acuity are “consistent with earlier developed long-term growth plans.” Acuity will continue to expand its market-leading eyecare platform through the acquisition of additional regional eyecare groups and independent optometric practices, and expects to operate more than 100 locations by mid-2018, according to the announcement.