SAN ANTONIO, Sept. 23 Pennsylvania-based HVHC Inc., aHighmark company, today announces leadership changes at Eye Care Centers ofAmerica (ECCA). On October 1, James Eisen will become the company's new chiefoperating officer, replacing James Denny who has resigned as COO effectiveSept. 30. In addition, George Gebhardt has been named chief merchandisingofficer by the ECCA Board of Directors, a position he will assume on October1. ECCA veteran James Denny has resigned as president effective December 31,2008 and will retire at that time.
"Eye Care Centers of America is gaining two accomplished executives withproven track records of success, tremendous credentials and great leadershipskills," said HVHC president and chief executive officer, and ECCA chiefexecutive officer and chairman of the board David Holmberg. "Both Jim andGeorge will be assets to the ECCA management team as we continue to grow ourbusiness and enhance our presence as a leader in the vision retail industry."
No newcomer to the vision industry, Eisen is the former vice president ofstore operations for Luxottica Licensed Brands, previously Cole LicensedBrands, in Cleveland, OH. Most recently he was senior vice president ofstores with national fabric and crafts retailer Jo-Ann Stores in Hudson, OH.
Eisen is a graduate of California Coast University with a bachelor'sdegree in business management, and he has been married to his wife, Heather,for 28 years. They have two children and a granddaughter.
"It is an honor to be part of the ECCA leadership team, and I'm excitedabout the growth opportunities in our retail businesses," said Eisen. "As wecontinue to invest in training, coaching and developing our teams, we willhave leaders demonstrating and delivering upon our organization's mission toprovide integrated vision care solutions for our customers and patients."
George Gebhardt has served as ECCA's executive vice president ofMerchandising since September 1996, and he assumed the responsibilities formanaged vision care in 2004. He has also been responsible for marketing fromSeptember 1996 to December 2004 and since May 2006. Gebhardt was withVisionworks from February 1994 to September 1996 serving in various positions,most recently senior vice president of Merchandising and Marketing. Prior toentering the vision retail business, he spent over 13 years with EckerdCorporation in various operational positions including senior vice presidentand general manager of Eckerd Vision Group. He also spent seven years workingfor Procter & Gamble serving in various positions including unit sales managerof Procter & Gamble's Health and Beauty Care Division.
Gebhardt is a graduate of Southern Oregon University with a bachelor'sdegree in marketing, and he has been married to his wife, Karen, for 30 years.They have four children and five grandchildren.
"I've been with the company a long time and can honestly say it is trulyexciting to see our long-term strategic plan come together so well," saidGebhardt. "We are a great company that is getting stronger and more focusedevery day, and I look forward to helping the HVHC family achieve and exceedour goals."
Since joining ECCA, James Denny has been responsible for overseeing themanagement of all retail stores, as well as real estate and construction.From June 2003 to December 2004, he was senior vice president of StoreOperations, overseeing the management of approximately one-quarter of ourstores. From June 1967 to March 1992, and again from January 1994 to December2002, he held various progressive operations positions culminating inpresident of Sears Puerto Rico with Sears Roebuck & Co. From March 1993 toJanuary 1994, Mr. Denny served as region manager with Circuit City Stores,Inc.
"Jim has been a real asset to ECCA, and has made many contributions to thecompany during the past five years," said