Meet Our Company Leaders
President, Essilor of America, Inc.
Rick Gadd is President of Essilor of America and responsible for the company’s overall vision and planning, including all aspects of the business, mission and culture. A proven leader and advocate for Essilor’s mission of improving lives by improving sight, he is passionate about the customer experience and is highly regarded for delivering results. Rick joined Essilor of America in 2011 as Senior Vice President Key Accounts. Most recently, he was President, ECP Sales and Services, and was responsible for developing and leading best-in-class teams to accelerate sales growth and customer satisfaction through ECP partnership and unique product and service innovation. Prior to joining Essilor, Rick was Vice President of Sales for Motorola’s Mobile Devices business where he managed the wireless carrier relationship, demand generation and revenue growth for Motorola in Canada and the USA. He has more than 20 years of high-tech sales, marketing, product management and business development experience. Rick obtained his bachelor’s degree and his BBA in marketing and finance from York University in Toronto, Canada. “I’m proud of Essilor’s commitment to our customers to provide innovative products and innovative business solutions. Innovation is our catalyst for growth.”
Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President, Essilor of America, Inc.
Dori Abendschein joined Essilor of America in April 2017 as Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President. The finance team delivers timely and consistent data to drive Essilor’s business while ensuring alignment and agility across the organization. Dori brings more than 25 years of experience in all aspects of finance, global transformation initiatives, international responsibilities and customer experience. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Sam Houston State University. “I’m so excited to work with the Essilor Vision Foundation to continue to expand our mission beyond our own borders. I love being a part of this, and I love living the mission.”
Senior Vice President of Human Resources and General Services, Essilor of America, Inc.
Senior Vice President of Human Resources and General Services, Essilor of America, Inc.
Steve Cunningham joined Essilor of America in 2003 as Vice President Human Resources for Essilor Labs. The HR and General Services teams are the stewards of Essilor’s Principles and Values as demonstrated through the development of our employees, progressive Inclusion and Diversity programs, talent acquisition, promoting employees’ overall financial, mental and physical well-being as well as providing a respectful and safe work environment. Steve received his undergraduate degree from Creighton University and his MS in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from University of Nebraska at Omaha. “I feel very fortunate to be part of an organization with such a strong sense of purpose and such a strong mission.”
Chief Information Officer, Essilor of America, Inc.
Greg joined Essilor of America in 2014. Prior to Essilor, he was Chief Innovation and Technology Officer at Press Gainey, the leading health care practice performance and patient engagement solution company. Greg has also held senior executive level IT and operational roles both domestically and internationally with several companies including Smith & Nephew, The Broadlane Group, and The Home Shopping Network. Greg holds a Bachelor of Science degree in math and computer science from Northwest Missouri State University and is actively involved with the Essilor Vision Foundation, MentorNet and serves on the University of Texas Dallas Advisory Board. “What differentiates Essilor for me is our optical philanthropic focus and commitment to eliminate uncorrected vision throughout the world.”
Chief Marketing Officer, Essilor of America, Inc.
Sherianne James joined Essilor of America in 2011 as Director of Global Consumer and Professional Insights for Transitions Optical, a wholly owned Essilor subsidiary. She became Vice President, Marketing in June 2016. The Marketing organization’s priorities include bringing proven product superiority and breakthrough innovations to market; leveraging consumer marketing to shape consumer traffic and drive sales; providing the insights and business intelligence to enable the company to make data-centric decisions; and acting as a partner to the sales team to generate demand. Sherianne earned an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a CHE in Chemical Engineering from the University of Florida. “My lenses have Varilux, Transitions and Crizal. One day I lost my glasses and had to quickly get a replacement pair. I couldn’t clearly see between near and far and realized the glasses didn’t have Varilux. I can personally tell you the difference it makes to have premium lenses.”
Dr. Millicent Knight
Senior Vice President, Customer Development Group, Essilor of America, Inc.
Dr. Millicent Knight joined Essilor of America in 2018 as Senior Vice President Customer Development Group. The Customer Development Group aligns corporate communications, ECP and sales training, and industry and professional relations into a single organization to provide a deeper focus on delivering on and communicating our mission of improving lives by improving sight. She has a diverse and extensive background in the optical industry, including experience in a hospital-based ophthalmology/optometry practice, two optometric practices and a former member of Vision Source. Prior to Essilor, Millie was Vice President of Professional Affairs, North America at Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. She has been selected optometrist of the year by both the Illinois Optometric Association and the National Optometric Association. Millie received her Doctor of Optometry degree and a Bachelor of Science, Visual Science degree from the Illinois College of Optometry. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Augustana College. “The practice and optometrist of the future looks at the whole body while focusing on the eyes. Our mission inspires me to work hard to ensure ECPs have all of the training, technology and tools they need to exceed their patients’ expectations and to be prepared now and in the future.”
Senior Vice President, Operations and Supply Chain, Essilor of America, Inc.
Christophe Leger joined Essilor of America in 2018 as Senior Vice President, Operations and Supply Chain. In this role, Christophe will focus on optimizing the manufacturing and supply chain systems across Essilor’s entire North American footprint, with a focus on improving lab performance, providing better customer service support, and investing in the latest equipment and technology to deliver the highest quality product on time, every time. Prior to Essilor of America, he served as Vice President AMERA Operations, IT & SimplifEye and was based in Singapore. Christophe earned his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from ECAM School (Ecole Catholique des Arts & Metiers de Lyon) in France, and his executive MBA from Reims Management School. “Our mission is the common denominator among Essilor employees all over the world. It’s what links us together, no matter where we are. When I meet people from Essilor in other countries, I see how we all share our mission and it always feels great to experience this.”
Senior Vice President, Alliances and Business Solutions, Essilor of America, Inc.
Daniel Liberman joined Essilor of America in 2013 and now leads the Alliances and Business Solutions group, which is tasked with developing solutions that integrate multiple Essilor competencies to answer the evolving needs of the company’s customers and enhance their growth and performance. Daniel’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, an MS from the University of Bath and a law degree from the University of Michigan. “Our mission means constantly educating people about the importance of regular comprehensive medical eye exams. My friends’ young daughter was misdiagnosed and ended up without sight and in a temporary coma. If she had had a proper medical eye exam, things likely would have been different.”
General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Legal, Essilor of America, Inc.
David Milan joined Essilor of America in 2000 as General Counsel and Vice President of Legal. He is responsible for the Essilor of America legal department, which provides internal legal services for all of the Essilor of America affiliated entities in the United States. Prior to Essilor, David was a trial lawyer with Dallas-based Winstead, Sechrest and Minick, P.C., as well as serving as in-house counsel to Snelling Personnel Services and Pearle Vision, Inc. He received his bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Texas at Austin and his Juris Doctorate degree from Texas Tech University. “As someone who was part of the creation of the Essilor Vision Foundation and who has been on the board ever since, I take immense pride in the efforts of so many to eliminate poor vision and its lifelong consequences.”
Senior Vice President and General Manager, Key Accounts, Essilor of America, Inc.
Steve Nussbaumer joined Essilor of America in 2004 as Marketing Director for the Essilor Lab Group. He progressed through several key roles within EOA, including Vice President Retail. Steve also served as country VP, UK & Ireland, and as VP, European Marketing. The Key Account organization manages the strategy and commercial activities in four distinct areas of business: EOA’s Retail Customers, Managed Vision Care Providers, ECP Aggregators (Private Equity Groups), and New Channel Development. Steve holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Alabama and an MBA from the University of Tennessee. “I feel so fortunate to work for a company where the customers’ needs come before the sale. Essilor’s focus is our customers’ growth rather than sales because we only succeed if our customers succeed.”
President and Executive Director, Essilor Vision Foundation
Becky joined Essilor Vision Foundation in 2018 as President and Executive Director. In this role, she will focus on developing more sustainable models to bridge the large gap between the need for and access to vision care to support the foundation’s mission of eliminating poor vision and its lifelong consequences. Becky has been with Essilor of America’s Legal department since 2012 in a Senior Counsel capacity. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas A&M University and her Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the SMU Dedman School of Law. “I appreciate that our mission encourages employees to learn about how our products can correct, protect and/or prevent vision impairment, and I respect how the company helps others better their lives as a result. Because the mission is important to Essilor, it became important to me.”
Executive Vice President, Essilor of America, Inc.
Kevin Rupp joined Essilor of America in 2000 as the Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration. During his career at Essilor, he has implemented a shared service organization for the administrative functions of the company, which has included an enterprise-wide systems implementation to provide full administrative services to all operating business units from a central shared service organization. Kevin has also headed the company’s acquisition efforts. As Executive Vice President, Kevin is responsible for Information Technology, Legal and multiple business units as well as holds the position Board of Director on many of the company's activities. Prior to joining Essilor, he was employed in the energy industry for more than 20 years with Arco, Fina, and TotalFina. A Certified Public Accountant, Rupp received his bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Houston. “We are fortunate to work in an industry to improve a person's life by improving their vision. As a successful company, with a strong valued culture of sharing our success, it is important to give back to the community that has made us successful. It is our duty as an organization to assure everyone has access to good vision and we provide a great avenue for our employees to do this through our Essilor Vision Foundation and Essilor Social Impact fund.”
Senior Vice President ECP Sales and Services, Essilor of America, Inc.
Matt Tackman joined Essilor of America in October 2008 as Director, National Accounts. The new Eyecare Professional (ECP) Sales and Services group is responsible for developing and leading best-in-class teams to execute sales plans and strategies that accelerate sales growth and customer satisfaction through partnership and unique product and service innovation. Prior to Essilor, Matt was Senior Manager, Customer Development at Hanesbrands Inc. Matt earned a bachelor of business administration from The University of Texas at Arlington. “Our mission is the fuel that drives us to exceed expectations and persevere when things are difficult - it's personal - and we have a responsibility to succeed. So many people are counting on us to make a difference!”
Senior Vice President, Wholesale Business, Essilor of America, Inc.
John Walborn joined Essilor of America in 2007 as Vice President Growth and Development. He has held several positions within the company including Vice President Marketing and Business Development, and Vice President Essilor Services and Strategic Initiatives. Wholesale Business includes Independent Distribution Division, Integrated Independents which are independent ECPs who have their own lab, Essilor Prescription Safety Eyewear, Shore, KBCo and X-Cel Lens companies, and brings most of the company’s lens businesses under the leadership of John and his team, enabling Essilor to leverage the synergies within these business units. John received his Bachelor's Degree in Biomedical Engineering from Texas A&M University and his MBA from Baker University. “I didn’t make the connection to vision and its effect on a person's quality of life until a family member lost sight in one eye due to an infection and became very sheltered and withdrawn. I introduced them to an OD and we began to focus on a few of Essilor's latest technologies. Now they are living life as they did before the infection. This is when I realized our products not only can help people resume an active life, but improve the quality of life for individuals as well.”