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BHVI appoints new CEO

The board of the Brien Holden Vision Institute on 3 December announced its appointment of Professor Kovin Naidoo to the position of chief executive officer of the organisation. Professor Naidoo was appointed Interim CEO following the passing of Professor Brien Holden last July.

Chair of the board, Prof Brian Layland, said the appointment vindicates "the outstanding leadership" Prof Naidoo has brought to the role in an interim capacity and his long history of service to the institute.

"Kovin is a wonderful leader, a person of great integrity, a remarkable entrepreneur and a global leader in advocating for eye care access," Prof Layland said.

Prof Naidoo said the BHVI is founded on more than 40 years of history; leadership in the industry and in the public health arena.

"We are proudly a unique collective of governance experts, business people, researchers, public-health professionals, and education and technology specialists," he said.Professor Naidoo is supported by an executive group of Ms Yvette Waddell (chief operating officer, BHVI), Dr Paul Erickson (head of research and development and CEO Brien Holden Vision Pty Ltd), Ms Amanda Davis (COO, Brien Holden Vision Institute Public Health) and Dr Kah Ooi Tan (CEO, Brien Holden Vision Institute China)

"Yvette Waddell has been involved with ophthalmic research and management for more than twenty years, is a current board member of the BHVI and is responsible implementing our commercial, intellectual property and business development strategies," Prof Naidoo said.

"Paul Erickson has vast experience in the industry, considerable knowledge of ophthalmic technologies and is invaluable in guiding our research and development activities.

"Amanda Davis has done a remarkable job overseeing the expansion of our public-health efforts globally. "Kah Ooi Tan's experience in the ophthalmic devices industry includes regional management, marketing, professional affairs, business development and clinical affairs, along with numerous roles in research and education in the optometry field."

Prof Naidoo is an academic, former anti-apartheid activist and political prisoner, optometrist and a public-health leader. His professional life has been dedicated to "delivering eye care to people in need through research, public health and entrepreneurship".

He has served as the head of optometry at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and as the co-founder and CEO of the African Vision Research Institute and was a co-founder of Clear Vision Optical franchise and has been on many boards throughout his career including most recently the Vision Impact Institute.

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Also, he has served in many elected/voluntary positions including Africa Chair of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, trustee of VISION 2020: The Right to Sight, a member of the World Council of Optometry Governing Board, and member of the World Health Organization Refractive Error Working Group.

He is founder and Chair of African Vision which is establishing cataract surgical services in the public sector and also chairs the SA Red Cross Air Mercy Services Board of Trustees.

Prof Naidoo is a Fulbright Scholar and was elected an Ashoka Fellow in 2006 for his social entrepreneurial efforts in addressing the needs of those less privileged.

He was African Optometrist of the Year in 2002 and named International Optometrist in 2007, and was jointly awarded with Prof Holden the Schwab Social Entrepreneur Award for Africa 2010, at the regional World Economic Forum in Tanzania because of his ability to merge his business acumen with social causes.

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