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New BHVI and BHVI Foundation CEOs Yvette Waddell and Amanda Davis

Naidoo departs Brien Holden, new leadership confirmed

18/07/2018By Matthew Woodley
Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) CEO Professor Kovin Naidoo has parted ways with the NGO, after 20 years with the organisation.

The sudden departure was announced via a release on the BHVI website on Monday, which also revealed a new corporate structure that sees Naidoo’s former CEO role split and a new two-pronged approach – separate CEO positions – to the development of the group.

Ms Yvette Waddell, who has held the position of chief operating officer (COO) at BHVI since 2003, will take over as CEO of the institute, while Ms Amanda Davis will become CEO of the BHVI Foundation after also serving as its COO.

Davis was initially announced as CEO in an interim capacity, however her position was confirmed at a board meeting earlier in the week.

According to a BHVI spokesperson Naidoo resigned his position, which allowed the institute to “press ahead with a necessary structural reform.” No reason was given for his resignation, however the spokesperson did describe the role as “demanding”.

“The demand for contact lenses and IOLs for the presbyopia market, and contact lenses and spectacle lenses for myopia management, continues to be a critical focus for us.”
Yvette Waddell, BHVI

The rising in prevalence of myopia was listed as a contributing factor for the need to restructure, as the organisation shifts its focus to address the future needs of both the ophthalmic industry and the public health sector.

In a joint written response to questions from Insight, Waddell and Davis said leadership at both the institute and its foundation felt the need to revisit their strategy, in order to examine what progress had been made and investigate what could be done to meet the increasing demand for myopia-related eyecare.

The shift will also see a redoubling of efforts to strengthen the core business of BHVI – delivering optical inventions and public health solutions to the world.

Waddell’s role as CEO of the institute will see her focus on a translational research response to the growing demands for eyecare seen at both ends of the age spectrum, and she said it would continue to pursue a full range of ophthalmic product development.

“The demand for contact lenses and IOLs for the presbyopia market, and contact lenses and spectacle lenses for myopia management, continues to be a critical focus for us,” Waddell said.

“We carefully monitor the market and speak with our partners and leaders within the industry on a daily basis. We don’t want to change that. Nor do we want to change those talented people who work for us. They are thought leaders and visionaries of our industry.”

AFT Pharmaceuticals

However, despite the assurances, it is not yet clear what kind of impact the new structure will have on existing staff members or their roles.

“For the moment we want to take a fresh look at how we can expand our services and how we are jointly answering the market need, particularly in product development and education for myopia. That is critical,” Waddell and Davis wrote.

“Investment in both translational research and in public health is about partnerships. We will be taking a deep dive into how we partner, how we are meeting our goals and how we improve to really push beyond and meet global need.

“We have a strong team with many years of experience and significant expertise to drive us toward our ambitious goals. It will be an exciting time to be working with the institute and the foundation.”

Carl Zeiss

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