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Senior Optos boss leaving to take up position at English rival

THE experienced chief operating officer of Optos has decided to jump ship to a fellow specialist technology manufacturing business.

Alex Warnock, who has been with the Dunfermline retinal imaging device maker since 2008, is moving to take up the chief operating officer role at Gooch & Housego.

The AIM-listed company, which was founded in 1948 by Archie Gooch and Leslie Housego, had revenue of more than £63 million in its most recent full financial year with its pre-tax profits coming in at £8.3m.

In interim results published earlier this summer, which covered the six months to March 31, turnover had grown 18.6 per cent to a record £34.4m with adjusted profit before tax up 34.2 per cent to £5.1m.

While its optical and imaging components are used in the medical industry they are also found in sectors such as aerospace, defence and life science.

Forty-nine-year-old Mr Warnock, a chartered engineer, will join the Gooch & Housego board when he takes up his new role on November 10.

His new employers highlighted his experience of running multi-site operations around the world as well as integrating manufacturing, research and development and supply chains while bringing innovative products to market.

Gooch & Housego said: "Alex has an extensive track record in international markets and broad experience of new product introduction particularly of complex electronic products."

Currently Gooch & Housego, which has its headquarters at Ilminster in Somerset, has operations in Germany and Japan as well as in states across the United States such as Florida, California and Ohio.

During his time at Optos, Mr Warnock has also filled the chief technology officer role and been global vice president of the research and development division.

Gareth Jones, chief executive of Gooch & Housego, said: "In addition to running operations on both sides of the Atlantic, Alex's experience of bringing new system-level products to market in a strict regulatory environment will be invaluable in helping Gooch & Housego to execute the next phase of its strategy and to achieve its ambitious growth plans."

Mr Jones is leaving his post at the start of next year to move to become non-executive chairman of the company.

From January 1 he will be handing over day-to-day running of the business to current deputy chief executive Mark Webster.

Mr Warnock's appointment appears to complete the reshuffle of the senior management team at Gooch & Housego.

Prior to joining Optos he had held senior roles at Johnson & Johnson owned DePuy iOrthopaedics and Pace Micro Technology as well as being European operations manager for Motorola.

In July Optos said it has seen third quarter revenue increase to £24.6m and new customer numbers increase as its next generation Daytona device continued to gain acceptance in the market.

The Daytona was launched two years ago and initially struggled for sales as a result of software problems.

Since then the lighter and more portable device, which is manufactured in Dunfermline where Optos employs around 200 people, has seen its market share grow steadily.

Mr Warnock was a part of the Optos team that developed Daytona and brought it onto the market.

Yesterday a spokesman for Optos said: "Alex is leaving for personal reasons and we wish him well in his new role and we will be recruiting a replacement in due course. Beyond that we have no comment at this time."

Gooch & Housego listed on AIM in December 1997 and now has a market capitalisation of around £140m. Shares in it were up 5.5p, or one per cent, to 645.5p with Optos up 0.25p to 200p.

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