STAAR Surgical President and CEO Caren Mason will be retiring December 31, and ophthalmic industry executive Thomas “Tom” G. Frinzi has been tapped as her replacement.
STAAR Surgical Co. today announced that President and CEO Caren Mason will be retiring December 31, after leading the company through a significant period of revitalization and growth for more than seven years.
According to a news release, STAAR’s Board of Directors has appointed ophthalmic industry executive Thomas “Tom” G. Frinzi, current Board Chair of STAAR, to serve as president and CEO, effective January 1, 2023.
The company noted that in order to ensure a seamless transition, Mason has agreed to serve in an advisory role through December 31, 2023.
"On behalf of the entire Board, I want to thank Caren for her exceptional tenure as STAAR’s President and CEO since March 2015,” Aimee S. Weisner, chair of the Board’s Nominating and Governance Committee. “Under Caren’s leadership, STAAR has achieved numerous significant milestones including accelerating average revenue growth above 25% over the past several years and gaining U.S. FDA approval of our EVO lenses earlier this year. At the same time, Caren has overseen a dramatic increase in shareholder value with shares of STAAR increasing in value by almost 10 times during her tenure. She leaves STAAR in an incredibly strong financial and market position.”
Mason was appointed president and CEO of STAAR in March 2015 after serving as an independent Director on STAAR’s Board of Directors since 2014. Prior to joining STAAR, Mason served as CEO and in other senior executive roles at numerous innovative healthcare, life sciences, diagnostic technology, and medical device companies.
“Serving as CEO of STAAR Surgical has been the highlight of my career,” Mason said in a statement. “I am proud of STAAR’s accomplishments under my leadership over the past seven years, and I am grateful for the many dedicated professionals around the world who make STAAR such a phenomenal company. I look forward to watching STAAR’s continued success and have great confidence in Tom and the amazing STAAR leadership team.”
Frinzi was appointed to STAAR’s Board of Directors in June 2020 and has extensive experience in the ophthalmic and medical device industries at both large, well-established companies and innovative start-ups. He served as Worldwide president, Surgical for Johnson & Johnson’s Vision business, and previously served as senior vice president of Abbott Laboratories and President, Abbott Medical Optics (AMO). Prior to Abbott, he served as President and CEO of WaveTec Vision, a developer of surgical systems for eye surgery. He previously held senior positions in commercial operations, business development, and sales and marketing at Bausch & Lomb Surgical, Refractec and Chiron Vision.
“I am honored to be selected to lead STAAR as CEO and excited about our company’s future, especially our significant opportunity launching EVO ICL in the United States,” Frinzi said in a statement. “Caren has set the company on extremely strong footing, and I will be highly focused on continuing our global growth and ensuring STAAR continues to lead the industry with innovative lens-based solutions that offer freedom from glasses and contact lenses. We have an incredibly strong team, a life-transforming solution for patients, and we are well positioned to continue to deliver for patients and the physicians who serve them, while also driving value for our shareholders.”
Weisner said Frinzi is the right choice to serve as the company’s next CEO.
“He brings more than 40 years of ophthalmic and medical device experience to his stewardship of STAAR and has the vision and expertise to continue STAAR’s strong trajectory of growth and leadership position in implantable lenses for myopia,” she said in the statement. “As chair of the Board, Tom has been a significant contributor to STAAR’s success for more than two years, and we are confident he will excel as STAAR’s CEO.”
STAAR also announced today that it expects to achieve total net sales for the fourth quarter of 2022 in the range of $64 million to $66 million.
The Board has created the new role of Lead Independent Director, effective January 1, 2023, and appointed Stephen Farrell, chair of the Audit Committee, to serve in that capacity. Effective with Ms. Mason’s retirement, STAAR’s Board reduced the total number of members from seven to six.