September 16, 2009 17:43 ET

HVHC Inc. Names Two Industry Veterans to Leadership Positions

New Executives Assume Positions at Eye Care Centers of America and Viva International Group

PITTSBURGH, PA--(Marketwire - September 16, 2009) - Pennsylvania-based HVHC Inc., a Highmark company, has appointed two vision industry veterans to key executive positions at Eye Care Centers of America (ECCA) and Viva International Group. Kelly Carter has been named vice president of merchandising and sales development for Eye Care Centers of America, and Sherry Lay has joined Viva as the company's executive vice president and chief merchandising officer.

Based in San Antonio, Texas, Mr. Carter will manage and direct all elements of ECCA's frame and accessory merchandising and buying and store visual merchandising. In this role, he will report to George Gebhardt, ECCA's chief merchandising officer, and will serve as the lead executive working closely with merchandising, marketing and store construction associates, while leading and initiating new ways of driving sales through the development of promotional programs.

Mr. Carter was most recently associate vice president of product and merchandising at Luxottica Retail, North America as a member of the Sears Optical brand leadership team. He has been in the optical industry for more than 20 years, including 10 years as vice president of marketing and merchandising for America's Best Contacts & Eyeglasses.

Ms. Lay has assumed a newly created position of executive vice president and chief merchandising officer for Viva International Group in Somerville, N.J. In her new role, Ms. Lay will be responsible for merchandising, brand management, marketing, business development and inventory planning. She will report to Viva's president, Frank Rescigna.

Ms. Lay has consistently grown sales, brand market share and profit margins in her previous positions at Pearle Vision where she was vice president of merchandising and marketing, and at Sunglass Hut as the general merchandise manager and vice president of merchandising. She has also held similar positions at Ann Taylor, The Longaberger Company and The Body Shop.

"Both Kelly and Sherry bring outstanding skills and experiences to their new positions, and I am pleased to welcome them to our leadership team," said David Holmberg, HVHC's president and chief executive officer. "As we look ahead to continue to deliver the value of our vertically integrated vision businesses our clients expect of us, their experience will be an enormous advantage for ECCA and Viva and the HVHC family of companies as they take on the challenges of their new positions."

About HVHC Inc.

HVHC Inc. is the owner of New York-based Davis Vision, Inc., New Jersey-based Viva International Group and Texas-based Eye Care Centers of America. Together, these companies rank among the nation's largest vision companies. For more information, visit the company Web sites,, and

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