David Karcher, executive director and chief executive officer, The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), will retire as of December 31, 2018, according to an ASCRS press release.
Karcher will be a consultant for ASCRS through 2021.
Since August 1981 when he started his leadership role at the organization, membership has grown to more than 8,500, the number of employees has expanded from three to 65, and the annual budget has increased from $360,000 to more than $23 million, the press release said.
“I have been blessed over these many years to work with a dedicated and loyal staff who have been taking direction from a very dynamic and engaged group of volunteer leaders,” Karcher said. “I look forward to watching—from a different vantage point—ASCRS, the ASCRS Foundation, and ASOA continue to grow and prosper.”
Eric D. Donnenfeld, MD, will chair the search committee responsible for interviewing candidates to fill the role of executive director.
Interviews will begin in the late summer or early fall of 2017. Leonard Pfeiffer & Company, a well-known executive search firm, will be assisting in the search. All inquiries should be sent to Zara Sulayman, [email protected], 202-737-6327, ext 24.
“There is no one individual who is more responsible for the success of ASCRS than David Karcher,” said Edward J. Holland, MD, chair, ASCRS Program Committee. “Ophthalmologists, administrators and patients worldwide have benefited from Dave’s dedicated work. His honesty, humility, integrity, and outstanding leadership have made our organization exceptional. We will never replace David Karcher, but look to build on the foundation and principles he has instituted for ASCRS.”
Under Karcher’s leadership, ASCRS restructured its scientific advisory board into clinical committees, which are actively engaged in developing the organization’s annual meeting. The first meeting which was held in 1982 had about 600 registrants, compared with recent registration of upwards of 7,000, the organization said.
Karcher also co-founded The American Society of Ophthalmic Administrators (ASOA) in 1985. ASOA is a leading organization for the business side of the ophthalmic practice, providing support, tools, and resources to help ophthalmologists grow, expand, and improve their businesses, the press release said.
Karcher also facilitated development of the ASCRS Foundation, which provides humanitarian support domestically and internationally. Each year in the United States, hundreds of eligible cataract patients who are unable to afford surgery are paired with volunteer surgeons who perform the necessary procedures. In Ethiopia, more than 23,000 patients annually are treated through ASCRS Foundation’s Robert Sinskey Eye Institute in Addis Ababa, the organization said.