One Year on Hold at Lunelle Contact Lenses

Bärbel and I finally had decided, in spite of the negative consequences for our family, that I would  quit my present job, but  stay in the spectacle lens business. My contract with Rodenstock contained a non- competition clause, saying that I could not work for two years in the spectacle lens business. During these two years Rodenstock would pay 50% of my last salary. As the market was relatively small with very close contacts between competitors, it was not very clear to me how to  proceed and I was not sure at all  what was going to happen. The number of possible new destinations was very small, either the big German competitor Carl Zeiss or the French company Essilor.  Essilor offered the opportunity to work in a really international company. Zeiss, like Rodenstock, was concentrated very much on the German market. At some occasions, like the WVAO meetings, I had already talked to the Essilor chief representative for Germany, Bernd Hagemeister. I called him up telling him very cautiously and somewhat camouflaged of my intention to change and if there might be some interest from Essilor. I had not the slightest idea how he would react, because of the existing harmony between the competitors in Germany. To my relief  he  was very open to this idea and some weeks later it was clear that I would join the Essilor subsidiary in Germany. Only later I learned that Bernd Hagemeister had a certain experience with this situation as he too had changed from Rodenstock to Essilor.  As Essilor had no R&D activity in Germany, at the beginning I should be responsible for technical marketing aspects of the subsidiary’s business, in particular prepare  the communication for new product launches, brochures,  technical leaflets and argumentations for the sales force.
 But before I could start this work I had to pause  because of the non- competition clause. Essilor negotiated with Rodenstock a reduction of the standstill period to one year. During this year I was an employee of Lunelle which was the contact lens daughter of Essilor. The subsidiary was situated in Hesse near Frankfurt/Main and so for one year I learned much about contact lenses, the Lunelle product program, and the fact that I personally had problems to adapt to contact lenses. For the rest of my time my wife and I were looking for an apartment at Braunschweig. It had been decided to start the small group Technical Marketing at Braunschweig, one of the two locations of Essilor Germany , the other being at Freiburg.