NATICK, MA - Cognex Corp., a supplier of machine vision systems, has announced the promotion of Robert Willett to president and chief operating officer. Willett will assume these responsibilities in addition to his current role as president of the Modular Vision Systems Division (MVSD), which is the largest operating division of Cognex. He will continue reporting to Dr. Robert J. Shillman, who remains the company’s chairman and chief executive officer.

As president of Cognex Corp., Willett will oversee both the Modular Vision Systems Division (MVSD) and the Surface Inspection Systems Division (SISD). Thomas F. Nash will continue in his current role as president of the Surface Inspection Systems Division, but he will now report to Willett rather than to Shillman. Finance and Administration, under the direction of Cognex Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Richard A. Morin, will continue to report to Dr. Shillman.

“When Rob joined Cognex as president of MVSD in 2008, it was with the expectation that after he proved himself in that role, he would become president of Cognex and be responsible for both of our divisions,” says Dr. Robert J. Shillman, chairman and chief executive officer of Cognex. “Over the past year and a half, Rob has exceeded my expectations and those of our board of directors. Rob has streamlined MVSD’s operations and managed that division back to profitability during very difficult economic times, and he did so without sacrificing progress on strategic initiatives that are important for the company’s future success. And, despite the reductions in operating expenses, Rob has been able to maintain the company’s work hard/play hard culture and winning spirit.”

“After a year and a half with the company, I am more enthusiastic than ever about Cognex,” says Willett. “We have a very talented and dedicated team, a great pipeline of products, and new business partnerships that will help us bring those products to more users and more markets around the world. As the global economy recovers, Cognex is in a very strong position to increase its share in the machine vision and industrial ID markets, and I look forward to leading the Cognex teams around the world to make that happen.”