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Essilor and Luxottica Iron Out Leadership Struggles

A new agreement ‘settles any existing dispute.’

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CHARENTON-LE-PONT, FRANCE – A new settlement agreement addresses governance issues and sets the basis for a “renewed start of profound collaboration” between Essilor and Luxottica.

The agreement “settles any existing dispute among the parties,” which completed a merger in October to form EssilorLuxottica, according to a press release. The organization has since been plagued by infighting among its leadership.

The agreement is between EssilorLuxottica and Delfin, holding company of Leonardo Del Vecchio, the top shareholder of EssilorLuxottica. It is “aimed at immediately making the Group’s structure more efficient and effective from an operational standpoint.”

According to the agreement:

  • Del Vecchio and Hubert Sagnières, who serves as vice chairman of the merged organization, empowered Francesco Milleri (deputy chairman – CEO of Luxottica Group) and Laurent Vacherot (CEO of Essilor International) to “develop and implement the EssilorLuxottica strategy and integration process, accelerating the simplification of the new Group by integrating the two operating companies within the next 12 to 24 months.”
  • Milleri and Vacherot approved the appointment of key executives for the group’s central functions.
  • Vacherot has been appointed as a director of EssilorLuxottica, replacing Bernard Hours, who has asked to be relieved of his office. He will also become a member of the board’s strategy committee.
  • The board confirmed the search for a new CEO. Milleri and Vacherot have informed the board that they are not candidates for the position.

As a result of the agreement, all existing claims will be waived and legal proceedings will be terminated, including the request for arbitration filed by Delfin before the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce on March 27.

In light of this agreement, Valoptec decided that it will withdraw the proposal submitted on April 18 for the appointment of one additional director of EssilorLuxottica. It will vote against the proposals submitted by certain institutional investors for the appointment of two additional directors, according to the release.

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“The representative of Valoptec at the Board of EssilorLuxottica will integrate the Strategic and the Integration Committees of the Company,” according to the release.

“I’m very pleased of this outcome. The industrial rationale of the combination is even stronger when looking at all the opportunities raised during the meetings of the Integration Committee,” said Del Vecchio, executive chairman of EssilorLuxottica. “Today, respecting the equal power and the Combination Agreement, we have found a solution to better execute such strategic combination.”

Sagnières said, “With these decisions driving to a more unified company, EssilorLuxottica is well positioned to accelerate its growth in order to achieve its mission: to help people around the world to see more, be more and live life to its fullest by addressing their evolving vision needs and personal style aspirations.”

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 21 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at editor@invisionmag.com.

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Optometry College Graduates Its First OD/MBA Student

She wanted a stronger understanding of the business side of optometry.

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Phillips

When Taylor Phillips graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry on May 10, she became the school’s first dual-degree doctor of optometry/master of business administration graduate, in a partnership with UAB’s Collat School of Business.

UAB’s OD/MBA dual-degree program is intended to give future optometrists a business foundation and education that will help them navigate their future as potential private practices owners and healthcare providers, the school said in a press release.

Phillips, a native of Gilbertown, AL, pursued the OD/MBA path to have a stronger understanding of the business side of optometry. She plans to enter private practice in rural and underserved Choctaw County upon completion of a yearlong residency in Tuscaloosa.

“In school, we learn clinical skills, develop strong patient interactions, understand the management of diseases and care, but we only learn about the top-line business aspects of our future career as optometrists,” Phillips said. “The completion of the OD/MBA program gave me the confidence to enter private practice, and I know it will help me give back to my community in a stronger way.”

Phillips completed her MBA courses in conjunction with her optometry curriculum and with students from other schools on UAB’s campus. Collat offers similar dual-degree paths for dental, medical, public health, engineering and health administration graduates as well.

While Phillips is the first OD/MBA graduate, several other students are currently enrolled in the program.

“The UAB MBA prepares professionals to lead and manage a business enterprise in today’s dynamic marketplace,” said Eric P. Jack, dean of the Collat School of Business.

“Research shows the MBA has been one of the most effective educational programs for changing the world by enabling leaders to build strong, high-performing organizations and by leveraging the power of markets. We’re proud of this novel collaboration between the School of Optometry and the Collat School of Business.”

Prospective students who are interested in learning more about the dual-degree paths offered through Collat School of Business can learn more here.

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8-Location Eyecare Practice Closes Its Doors

It had operated since 1959.

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Union Eye Care, an eight-location practice in Northeast Ohio, has closed its doors.

WOIO-TV in Cleveland reports that employees received an email on May 7 stating:

“The Board of Trustees made the decision that Union Eye Care Inc. will be filing for bankruptcy. We will be closing all eight stores, our terminal optical lab and headquarters permanently effective Wednesday May 8, 2019.”

The business opened in 1959.

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Its website lists locations in Akron, Brunswick, Cleveland, Cleveland Clinic, Garfield Heights, Mentor, North Olmsted and Parma.

WOIO reports that it was unable to reach Union Eye Care representatives by phone or email.

Read more at WOIO-TV

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Shopko Optical Acquisition Completed; 80 Stores to Become Freestanding Locations

The previous owner filed for bankruptcy.

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GREEN BAY, WI — Monarch Alternative Capital LP announced the completion of its previously announced acquisition of Shopko Optical.

The company expects to relocate nearly 80 of its current locations housed inside Shopko stores to freestanding locations, according to a press release. Shopko is a retail chain that recently announced plans to wind down its operations.

“We are excited to welcome Shopko Optical into our portfolio and to invest in the company’s growth as we move forward with our strategy,” said Andrew Herenstein, co-founder and managing principal of Monarch. “Monarch has a long, successful history of investing in great companies undergoing transitions and working alongside their leadership teams to build strong, vibrant businesses of the future.”

Jim Eisen, former president of Visionworks, is working as an operating partner with Monarch alongside the Shopko Optical team.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to join the Shopko Optical team,” Eisen said. “We are committed to continuing to provide quality patient care and outstanding service that our affiliated doctors of optometry and opticians have provided for over 40 years. It is an exciting time to be part of the Shopko Optical family.”

Over the course of 2019, Shopko Optical expects to relocate approximately 80 stores, while continuing to serve patients and customers in their existing locations during the transition.

“As we move forward with our plans to operate 80 freestanding optical locations, we continue to be dedicated to our patients, doctors, opticians and the communities we serve,” said Russ Steinhorst, CEO of Shopko. “We encourage anyone with questions to please get in touch with our team. We appreciate the continued patronage of our patients and their understanding during what we hope to be a continued smooth transition.”

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