Bill Thomas has somewhat unexpectedly resigned as chief executive of Vision Council of America after 10 very fruitful years at the head of the U.S. trade association. He oversaw the merger in 1999 of the former Vision Industry Council of America and the Optical Manufacturers Association. Under Thomas, the number of VCA's members has increased from 59 to more than 230, including various foreign companies, and its assets have almost doubled.

Thomas launched in 2002 the successful ?Check Yearly. See Clearly? campaign in the USA, which is has inspired similar initiatives in other countries including Belgium, which will adopt it in connection with its ?Vision Week? on Oct. 9-14.

Most recently Thomas has been lobbying strongly for new legislation on children's eye tests and for the establishment of a Worldwide Vision Coalition. He had invited the representatives of industry associations in Europe and Asia to join him at a meeting for the launch of the new body during next month's SILMO show in Paris.

Just before the Vision Expo West fair in Las Vegas, which reportedly ended on a strong note a few days ago, VCA announced that Thomas has been replaced by a 30-year industry veteran, Ed Greene, effective immediately. Greene worked initially for Schott Glass, Coburn Optical and Titmus Optical, with a focus on marketing. In 1989 he became Titmus' chief executive. After nine years in the post, he joined Carl Zeiss Optical in the USA, which he led as president and chief executive for 10 years. He also acted as Zeiss' vice president of the Americas in charge of business development. Greene served as president of the former Vision Industry Council of America prior to its merger into VCA.