Bruce Steffey (l) and Jeff McAllister.

DULUTH, Ga.—National Vision, Inc., one of the nation’s largest optical retailers is announcing today the planned retirement of Bruce Steffey, president and chief operating officer, effective Sept. 1, 2017.

Upon Steffey’s retirement, Jeff McAllister, a senior vice president at Walmart and 19-year Walmart veteran, will succeed Steffey as COO.

Steffey’s extensive career includes more than 30 years of specialty retail experience in both jewelry and optical. His jewelry career began with Service Merchandise, where he spent 19 years, followed by Zales Corporation where he spent 7 years. He has served as National Vision’s chief operating officer since October 2002 and president since 2012.

The company noted in its announcement, “Throughout his 15 years with National Vision, Steffey has led an operations team that has delivered some of the most consistently strong results in American retail."

Stated Reade Fahs, CEO of National Vision, “For all of us at National Vision, working with Bruce has been a complete and utter joy. Bruce is one of those rare leaders who demands and gets the best results out of people while concurrently both supporting and inspiring them. Bruce has been a great partner to me, the board and our entire team. Bruce’s presence will be deeply missed by all of us at National Vision.”

Steffey commented, “Serving on National Vision’s leadership team for the last 15 years has been the highlight of my career. It has been an honor and privilege to work with the many incredibly talented associates in stores across the country, and I am proud of all we have accomplished together. I am confident in the high-caliber leadership that Reade and Jeff will continue to provide. I believe the company is well positioned for a successful future and I look forward to watching their progress continue.”

“I am excited to join the National Vision team, and I look forward to helping the company continue to advance its mission of helping people by making quality eyecare and eyewear more affordable and accessible,” said McAllister. “Reade, Bruce and the entire team have built an associate and optometrist-centered, mission-driven organization that exists to make eyecare and eyewear more affordable to its patients and customers. I am excited to be able to contribute to the company’s continued success.”

Fahs added, “Jeff is a tremendous leader. He and I enjoyed working together several years ago when he led Walmart’s Vision Center business. While National Vision will benefit from Jeff’s strategic leadership, operational experience and track record of success in optical retail—ultimately, like all our hiring decisions—the choice of Jeff came down to culture.

We believe that Jeff lives the approach of servant leadership—especially with store-based associates and optometrists—that is the hallmark of who we are at National Vision.”

McAllister, a Navy Veteran, joined Walmart in 1998 as vice president of logistics engineering and planning, and he has since served in a variety of supply chain and operations capacities including vice president of Walmart’s global supply chain, chief operating officer for Walmart Japan and senior vice president for optical.

In addition, he led operations for Walmart’s Health and Wellness Group and for Walmart’s Texas Division. McAllister’s current role is senior vice president, next generation supply chain for Walmart U.S. Prior to joining Walmart, he managed logistics for Saks Fifth Avenue and May Department Stores.

National Vision, Inc. is one of the largest optical retail companies in the U.S. with 962 stores (as of April 2017) in 44 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The company operates five retail divisions: America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses, Eyeglass World, Vision Centers inside select Walmart stores, Vista Opticals inside Fred Meyer and on select military bases offering a variety of products and services.