By Jody Johnson-Pettit
Christophe Perreault is the new president of Essilor Canada.
He was previously the chief financial officer of Essilor Canada and has held several other leadership positions within Essilor International throughout his eight-year tenure with the company.
Perreault succeeds Barbara Heffez-Piper who has joined the team responsible for the Essilor and Luxottica integration in North America.
Perreault has a deep strategic understanding of the company and its operations, a sound financial background, as well as a commitment to Essilor’s mission of improving lives by improving sight. He is committed to continue working with the Essilor team, the industry, and eyecare professionals to raise awareness about the importance of eye health, and to provide the highest quality products and services.
Optical Prism magazine had an opportunity to ask Christophe Perreault about his new role with Essilor Canada and what the future has in store.
Q: What are your short-term priorities as president?
A: My priority today is to get out and visit as many customers as possible to better understand their needs and concerns. Using positive leadership, I want to know what they’re thinking and needing to provide better services and solutions. We want to be a partner of reference and trust for all industry partners throughout Canada. Listening and assessing our current landscape is essential for us and the entire industry’s future success. This is how we will support our mission of improving lives by improving sight for all Canadians.
Q: What are your long-term goals?
A: My goal is to provide the best sight possible to the 25 million people who already have vision correction; protect 36.7 million people’s eyes from harmful light and sight-threatening conditions; and give access to vision to underserved communities and the 2.2 million people whose vision is currently uncorrected. This means innovating and bringing to market new products and solutions that provide growth and value creation as well as developing services that smartly leverage new business models. We need to be present where consumers are to make sure we reach them when they want, how they want and at the price point that works for them.
Myopia is of particular concern. Myopia is a worldwide epidemic (half of the world population would be myopic by 2050). In Canada, as much as 30% of Canadians are myopic (11M) and 30% of myopic kids are not corrected (source: CAO). 80% of learning in a child’s first 12 years comes through his eyes. Yet, 86% of Canadian children under the age of 6 have never had a comprehensive eye exam. Only 49% of ECPs have plan for myopia control (source: – Dec 2018- Jan 2019). We’re committed to raising awareness on this epidemic, the lifestyle causes of myopia and the symptoms to look for while providing solutions early on that prevent further development of myopia. Parents need to know the symptoms to ensure their children receive the vision treatment they need.
Q: What experience and passion do you bring to the role?
A: By far the most important sense is our eyes. We perceive up to 80% of all impressions by means of our sight. For everyone, everywhere to see clearly, enjoy life’s moments clearly, this is my passion. I have worked in our offices in France and Singapore and traveled to many other countries on different continents with the company allowing me to experience the Essilor culture and live the mission. For example, I saw the work we do with the Yi minority in China’s Yunnan province through the Vision Ambassador program as well as the Eye Mitra program in India. We’re making a difference in people’s lives and improving their quality of life. Even here in Montreal, I participated in visual screenings we did with the Haitian community with the Salon des Opportunités. These events and moments in my career at Essilor continue to feed my passion to improve lives by improving sight.
Q: Why is Essilor a company you believe in?
A: Essilor is a purpose driven company with a mission of improving lives by improving sight meaning everyone, everywhere, has access to their best possible vision. This drives everything we do and our strategy comes from our mission, not the other way around. I have been fortunate to see our mission in action throughout the world. We mean what we say and our actions show it. We have great inclusive business models reaching populations who otherwise don’t have access to eyecare. More than $300 million CDN is invested every year in research and innovation – 3% of worldwide sales. We have been listed in Forbes’ Top 100 Most Innovative Companies for the past seven years. For these reasons, along with the passion and drive our employees show every day in their work and the values we share of entrepreneurship, collaboration, respect and diversity and inclusion, I believe in Essilor.
Q: Are you able to tell us about any new programs or technologies that Essilor is currently working on to address vision needs?
A: Consumers are demanding of innovation and want solutions that fit their changing lifestyles. This drives all categories and we are the industry’s leader for innovation. We innovate according to the needs of patients and with ever-changing lifestyles and behaviours; we are never short on subjects!
Innovation is constantly evolving. Varilux was invented 60 years ago and in Canada we’ve gone from three Varilux designs to 20. That’s innovation. Transitions has innovated with their Style Color and Style Mirror options launched in 2018 providing wearers with a wide range of choices for their lifestyle. For single vision lens wearers, Eyezen has proved to be a great solution with high penetration since its launch in 2015.
Because of our many innovations and solutions, we’ve launched our new Essilor Collection this year which simplifies and optimizes our portfolio for eyecare professionals. We have the Blue Collection protecting from harmful blue light. This includes Varilux with blue protection, Eyezen+, Transitions and lenses with Crizal Prevencia. Our Sun Collection includes our Xperio range of products for ultimate UV protection and the Classic Collection has all our clear lenses for vision correction. This innovative way of presenting our family of lenses help our customers provide the best solutions to their patients.