Professor Kovin Naidoo has been appointed CEO of the Brien Holden Vision Institute. The academic, former anti-apartheid activist and political prisoner, optometrist and internationally celebrated public health leader, was appointed Interim CEO following the passing of Professor Brien Holden in July 2015.
Chair of the board, Professor Brian Layland OAM, said the appointment vindicates the outstanding leadership Professor Naidoo has brought to the role in an interim capacity and his long history of exemplary 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,” said Professor Layland.
Professor Naidoo said the Brien Holden Vision Institute is founded on more than 40 years of extraordinary history; leadership in the industry and in the public health arena worldwide. “Importantly, the Institute’s success is due to our unanimously held goal – to create change, provide innovative solutions and lead the way,” he said. “We are proudly a unique collective of outstanding governance experts, astute business people, researchers, public health professionals, and education and technology specialists. We have excelled in all areas, forging new pathways where previously they did not exist; invention, creativity and excellence are at the core of all we do. Our future, thanks to Professor Holden’s legacy, our people and the collective leadership, is in good hands, as it always has been,” he added.
Following his appointment, Professor Naidoo paid tribute to his executive team which comprises Yvette Waddell (COO, Brien Holden Vision Institute), Dr. Paul Erickson (Head of Research and Development and CEO Brien Holden Vision Pty Ltd), Amanda Davis (COO, Brien Holden Vision Institute Public Health) and Dr. Kah Ooi Tan (CEO, Brien Holden Vision Institute China).
“We are fortunate to have such a talented and experienced group steering our organisation,” said Professor Naidoo. “Yvette Waddell has been involved with ophthalmic research and management for more than twenty years, is a current board member of Brien Holden Vision Institute and is doing an outstanding job in implementing our commercial, intellectual property and business development strategies. Paul Erickson has vast experience in the industry, immense 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 and has established herself as a leader in the Australian eye care community. Kah Ooi Tan’s extensive 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.”
About Professor Kovin Naidoo
Professor Kovin Naidoo has served as the Head of Optometry at University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), South Africa, and as the co-founder and CEO of the African Vision Research Institute. He was a co-founder of Clear Vision Optical franchise and has been on numerous boards throughout his career including most recently the Vision Impact Institute.
Professor Naidoo 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. He also chairs the SA Red Cross Air Mercy Services Board of Trustees.
Professor 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. He was jointly awarded with Professor Brien 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.