Tom Rosewall Steps Down as VFAN Chief Executive, Interim Leader Named


Tony Hulton.

LONDON—After having successfully managed the introduction of Vision For a Nation’s (VFAN) nationwide primary eyecare program in Rwanda over the past three years, chief executive Tom Rosewall has resigned. The organization has appointed Tony Hulton as interim chief executive. He will lead a six-month review of the charity’s future strategy on behalf of its board of trustees. This will inform VFAN’s future direction and plans to scale its work to other countries around the world, the organization said in a statement.

Hulton has managed a variety of private, public and not-for-profit organizations having started his career in the British Army and Foreign & Commonwealth Office. He was head of programs for DFID Southern Afghanistan and has set up program teams and offices in Somalia, Lebanon and Sri Lanka. He has been part of the founding team of two successful SME start-ups and advised private sector clients including Lockheed Martin, Malawi Mangoes and Insinger de Beaufort.

Hulton joins VFAN following the successful establishment of a nationwide and sustainable primary eyecare service in Rwanda. Over 1.5 million people have so far been helped through the charity’s groundbreaking program that is being delivered in partnership with the government of Rwanda, according to VFAN.

During his time as CEO, Rosewall played a galvanizing leadership role that enabled VFAN to exceed its original targets in Rwanda through establishing primary eyecare departments at all of the nation's more than 500 local health centers; training over 2,500 primary eyecare nurses; distributing eyeglasses through the public health supply chain; design and delivering a nationwide outreach initiative to all 15,000 villages in Rwanda; completing 1.4 million eye screenings to date; facilitating research into the organization’s work by the London School of Health and Tropical Medicine and the Rothschild Ophthalmological Foundation; designing the ongoing sustainability of VFAN's unique local primary eyecare program.

In 2016, Rosweall won a Third Sector Excellence Award for “Rising Chief Executive.” The prize is awarded to the chief executive who has made “outstanding contributions to his or her organization, or the wider sector, during their first two years in post.”

John Rhodes, chairman of Vision For a Nation’s board of trustees, commented, “The board is enormously grateful for Tom's contribution to VFAN's work over the past three years. His energy and dedication have enabled us to achieve results way beyond our original expectations. He leaves a strong foundation for VFAN's future expansion.”

Originally financed by founder James Chen, VFAN’s funding base has been broadened to include major grants from DFID, USAID and UBS Optimus Foundation.