Sight Care’s chief executive, Paul Surridge, is to step down next year after 18 years in the role at the business and marketing support group for independents.
Mr Surridge said: “Over the years I’ve been proud to serve the board and members of Sight Care, playing a role in helping shape and deliver our business resources, including our highly successful meetings programme and national PR campaign.”
Mr Surridge added: “Sight Care has evolved over the years to be a great resource for independents, and I’m sure my successor, when appointed, will build upon its strengths in the years to come.”
Asked about his future, Mr Surridge said: “I plan to take on new challenges inside and outside of optics and hope to continue my involvement with Sight Care in some form. However, I believe the time is right for someone else with new and fresh ideas to lead Sight Care through a new phase of growth and development.”
Looking back, Mr Surridge said: “When I joined Sight Care 18 years ago, we were a buying group. At that time the optical market was changing rapidly and independents were increasingly concerned about their future.
“Having conducted a good deal of research to better understand the concerns and needs of independent practice owners, we embarked upon a strategy that led to the introduction of a wide range of additional business services, including our meetings programme that focused solely on business and commercial topics.
“Our annual conference remains the best attended business event for independents in Europe. We have always been pioneers at Sight Care and that spirit is alive and well today.”
Commenting on Mr Surridge’s planned departure, Sight Care chairman, Gavin Rebello, said: “Paul has been a great ambassador for Sight Care. In the 1990’s he had a vision for independents and how the sector would evolve from a commercial perspective, and most of his forecasts have come true.”
He added: “With Paul’s involvement, we recently embarked upon a major strategic review. Our plan is to concentrate on key services, introducing new and innovative resources in the future. Under Paul’s leadership, Sight Care has been a leading force for independents and he’ll be missed."
Sight Care was established 25 years ago by the AOP as a not-for-profit organisation and was the successor to the original Practice Enhancement Programme, which launched in 1984.