(PRESS RELEASE) CHARENTON-LE-PONT, FRANCE – Essilor announces that Kovin Naidoo has been appointed senior vice president of inclusive business, philanthropy and social impact. In this newly created position, Naidoo will lead the group’s efforts to reach the 2.5 billion people living with uncorrected poor vision through inclusive business and philanthropy.
Most recently serving as associate professor of optometry at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), former CEO of the Brien Holden Vision Institute and former Africa chair of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, Naidoo is internationally celebrated as a public health leader. This year Naidoo has been recognized by American Academy of Optometry with the Carel C. Koch Memorial Medal Award for his outstanding contributions to the enhancement and development of relationships between optometry and other professions.
Essilor’s chief mission officer, Jayanth Bhuvaraghan, commented: “We’re delighted to welcome Kovin to the team. A longstanding friend of Essilor, Kovin has dedicated his professional life to delivering eye care to people in need. As one of the leading minds working in solving the uncorrected refractive error problem around the world, his unique and diverse experience will add further strength to our inclusive business and philanthropic efforts around the world as we strive towards our ambition of eradicating poor vision by 2050.”
Naidoo said of his appointment: “All my life I have been driven by the passion to make a positive impact on the world’s vision. I have supported Essilor’s initiatives to reach those living with uncorrected poor vision for a long time both as a collaborator and independent adviser. Joining Essilor, an organization that shares my commitment to the cause and personal values, gives me the opportunity to take my actions to a new scale and I look forward to working with such a dedicated team.”
Uncorrected poor vision is the world’s most widespread disability and affects 2.5 billion people, 90 percent of whom live in developing countries. Every year $272 billion is wasted in the global economy due to lost productivity as a result of uncorrected poor vision. This impact is felt acutely in rural areas, where awareness and access to vision care is often poor.