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As President of MVSD, Willett will oversee the largest operating division at Cognex which generates nearly 90% of the company’s annual revenue. The Modular Vision Systems Division designs, develops and manufactures vision systems, sensors and ID readers that are used to automate the manufacture of a wide range of discrete products and to assure their quality.
Willett comes to Cognex from Danaher Corp., a diversified manufacturer of industrial controls and technologies with annual revenues of more than $10 billion. At Danaher, Willett served as Group Vice President of Business Development and Innovation for the Product Identification business group. Prior to that, Willett was President of Videojet Technologies, a large subsidiary of Danaher and a market leader in coding and marking products. Willett joined Danaher after serving as CEO of Willett International Ltd., a global coding and marking company that he sold to Danaher in 2003, and which was merged into Videojet.
“Over the last 12 months, Cognex has made a number of internal changes to refocus our product development and sales efforts, and those changes have put us back on a fast growth track,” said Shillman. “Our business is doing very well right now, but in order to grow to $500 million in annual revenue, we will need additional energy, brainpower and leadership skills, and that’s why we brought Rob on board.”
Shillman continued, “Rob is a highly intelligent and hard working individual with an impressive track record of growing and managing technology businesses....most of them larger than Cognex. In addition, his background in identifying and integrating acquisitions around the world will help accelerate our international growth, particularly in emerging regions such as China, India, Brazil and Russia.”
Willett commented, “I have known and admired Cognex throughout my career in product identification, and I am very excited by the opportunity to help drive the company’s future growth. Machine vision is a field with tremendous potential, and I look forward to leveraging Cognex’s technology and industry leadership to both expand the currently-served market and to explore profitable growth opportunities in new markets.”