STAAR Surgical Announces Executive Changes And Additions To Position Company For Future Growth

~Former Coca-Cola, Red Bull and Dermalogica Executive, David Choromanski Joins the Company to Lead Visian® ICL™ Consumer Marketing

~~Senior Management Team Responsibilities Realigned to Foster Growth Strategy

May 15, 2014, 06:01 ET from STAAR Surgical Company

MONROVIA, Calif., May 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- STAAR Surgical Company (NASDAQ: STAA) a leading developer, manufacturer and marketer of implantable lenses and delivery systems for the eye, today announced that David Choromanski has joined the Company as Senior Director of Consumer Marketing for the ICL product line. He joins STAAR with more than 20 years of experience implementing effective consumer marketing programs which drove market share and profitable growth for high profile companies such as Dermalogica, Red Bull, Seagram, and the Coca-Cola Company.  His experience includes developing global brand positioning, marketing strategies and go-to-market approaches for products with similar target markets as the Visian ICL.

"At STAAR we have executed well on the professional or medical side of marketing and have recently found good success in our social media marketing efforts to create consumer awareness of the ICL brand," said James Francese, V.P. of Global Marketing. "These efforts have generated a very high return as measured by potential patients visiting a Visian ICL website which resulted in a Visian ICL procedure.  David's extensive experience delivering impactful consumer marketing programs that have yielded high growth results will be invaluable to our organization as we move to expand upon our consumer awareness branding of the Visian ICL."

"We have a number of growth catalysts on the horizon that have the potential to build on our growth momentum including the Toric ICL commercialization in the U.S., the ICL with the CentraFLOW® technology in China, the Preloaded ICL for our European markets, and the V6a ICL," added Barry Caldwell, CEO.  "The ICL continues to gain share globally in the refractive market while LASIK remains under downward pressure and now is the time to expand our marketing to drive mindshare of the patient or consumer. David is an ideal addition to our leadership team and we are excited about the proven break-through skill sets he will bring to the Company."

Mr. Choromanski's experience includes 20 years of corporate branding and consumer marketing programs. Prior to joining STAAR Surgical, he was Vice President at Dermalogica, where he led all U.S. marketing activities for the $200 million prestige skincare brand. He also served as Director of Consumer Marketing for Red Bull North America during a period when the brand increased from $100 million to $1.25 billion in annual revenue.  Mr. Choromanski also served as Brand Manager at The Coca-Cola Company where he developed and managed the strategic and advertising plans for the Barq's root beer, Mello Yello, Cherry Coke and Mr Pibb brands.

Mr. Choromanski holds an MBA from UCLA's Anderson School of Management and a Bachelor of Science degree from Miami (Ohio) University.

STAAR also announced that Philippe Subrin, Vice President of Manufacturing in Nidau, will relocate to the Company's headquarters, effective the first of July, to assume the role of Vice President of ICL Manufacturing.  This move allows Philippe to focus on ramping new products, specifically the TICL for the U.S. market, Preloaded ICL and V6a ICL.  The manufacturing transfer of all ICL production is expected to be complete at the end of the second quarter.  Additionally, Paul Hambrick, Vice President of Manufacturing in Monrovia, will become Vice President of IOL Manufacturing. This transition allows Paul to focus on the increased demand for IOL products, particularly the preloaded acrylic line and new products like the preloaded nanoFLEX IOL and nanoFLEX Toric IOL.  Mr. Hambrick will also be focused on product distribution strategy going forward which will be designed to deliver the ICL to the end customer in the shortest amount of time so surgery can be performed within days of the initial visit.  Both positions report directly to the CEO.

Finally, Craig Felberg announced his retirement effective at the end of June as STAAR's Vice President of Business Development.  During his tenure at STAAR Mr. Felberg has made numerous contributions to the Company's current success and future success in both R&D and New Business Development.  As part of the senior executive team realignment, Sam Gesten, General Counsel for STAAR, will take responsibility of new business development opportunities for the Company. Among his new responsibilities, Mr. Gesten will chair the weekly New Business Development Team sessions which is comprised of the CEO, CFO, VP of R&D and VP of Global Marketing.

"Pulling from our rich internal resources in manufacturing and business development, as well as expanding our talent to experienced executives with key skills in consumer marketing, will provide us with immediate leverage and expertise to drive our market share leadership position.  I am really excited with the focused manufacturing approach we are implementing under the proven leadership of Paul and Philippe.  Their focused efforts can drive a decrease in our cost of product and deliver the new key products to the market.  I am also excited about moving the outside new business opportunity function under Sam.  He has gained a very good understanding of our technologies over the past two years which will be very helpful in this role.  We also wish to extend our thanks and appreciation to Craig for his many years of service to the Company.  He tried to retire a few years ago and we convinced him to stay and take on the new business development activities.  I am thankful for the work he has done to establish this function within the Company as we have made strong progress in this area under his leadership and had discussions with dozens of companies about technologies during 2013.  I wish he and his wife, Jan, a fun filled retirement," concluded Caldwell.

About STAAR Surgical

STAAR, which has been dedicated solely to ophthalmic surgery for over 25 years, designs, develops, manufactures and markets implantable lenses for the eye and delivery systems therefor. All of these lenses are foldable, which permits the surgeon to insert them through a small incision. STAAR's lens used in refractive surgery as an alternative to LASIK is called an Implantable Collamer® Lens or "ICL." A lens used to replace the natural lens after cataract surgery is called an intraocular lens or "IOL." More than 425,000 Visian ICLs have been implanted to date; to learn more about the ICL go to: STAAR has approximately 335 full time employees and markets lenses in over 60 countries. Headquartered in Monrovia, CA, it manufactures in the following locations: Nidau, Switzerland; Aliso Viejo, CA; and Monrovia, CA. For more information, please visit the Company's website at




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