Jim Kutsch to step down as Seeing Eye CEO in 2019; search begins for successor

Seeing Eye CEO Jim Kutsch and Vegas. They plan to retire from the Seeing Eye in 2019. Photo courtesy of The Seeing Eye.
Seeing Eye CEO Jim Kutsch and Vegas. They plan to retire from the Seeing Eye in 2019. Photo courtesy of The Seeing Eye.
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From the Seeing Eye Inc.:

Kutsch Retiring as President and CEO of The Seeing Eye
Guide dog school announces search to find successor

Morristown, N.J. – James A. Kutsch, who has served as President and CEO of The Seeing Eye since 2006, has announced he will retire in 2019.

“On Jan. 29, The Seeing Eye will celebrate the 90th anniversary of its founding,” Kutsch said.

“Anniversaries are a good time not only to look backward, but to look ahead, and this is an appropriate time for me to step down and have someone else lead The Seeing Eye to its 100th birthday and beyond.”

The Seeing Eye president, Jin Kutsch, and his guide dog, Vegas, pose beside statue of organization founder Morris Frank and his dog, Buddy, near the Morristown Green. Photo by Rachael Moore
Seeing Eye President Jim Kutsch, and his guide dog, Vegas, pose beside statue of organization founder Morris Frank and his dog, Buddy, near the Morristown Green in 2013. Photo by Rachael Moore

Thomas J. Duffy, chair of The Seeing Eye’s Board of Trustees, announced that a search committee consisting of Trustees has been appointed to lead the search to find a new president and CEO, with the help of Boston-based executive search firm Isaacson, Miller.

Kutsch will remain with the non-profit organization during the transition period.

“Jim has done an amazing job preparing The Seeing Eye for the future,” Duffy said.

“Under his leadership, we improved our already high standard of quality while streamlining our costs. We continue to be renowned among guide dog schools, not just in North America, but across the world.”

The date of Kutsch’s retirement will be announced once his successor is named, but is expected to be late summer 2019.

L to R: Seeing Eye President and CEO Jim Kutsch with his Seeing Eye dog Vegas, Golden Dome Foundation President Mary Ellen Harris, N.J. Congressman Chris Smith, and Seeing Eye Trustees Catherine A. Kiernan, Esq., Margaret E. L. Howard, Ph.D., and Lewis M. Chakrin, Ph.D. Photo courtesy of The Seeing Eye
L to R: Seeing Eye President and CEO Jim Kutsch with his Seeing Eye dog Vegas, Golden Dome Foundation President Mary Ellen Harris, N.J. Congressman Chris Smith, and Seeing Eye Trustees Catherine A. Kiernan, Esq., Margaret E. L. Howard, Ph.D., and Lewis M. Chakrin, Ph.D., at Spring 2018 groundbeaking of Seeing Eye expansion in Morris Township. Photo courtesy of The Seeing Eye

Kutsch, 68, is the first graduate of the school to lead the organization. His relationship with The Seeing Eye began in 1970, when as a student at West Virginia University he came to the Morristown-based school to be matched with his first Seeing Eye® dog, a German shepherd named Sheba.

He is now working with his eighth Seeing Eye dog, a German shepherd named Vegas. Before assuming the role of president and CEO, he served on the organization’s Board of Trustees for 10 years.

Prior to joining The Seeing Eye, Kutsch served as Vice President of Strategic Technology at Convergys Labs, where he was responsible for evaluating new and emerging technologies and incorporating them into company services.

Rob Steidlitz and Jim Kutsch on their 70-pound tandem bike. They will ride in the Gran Fondo NJ in August. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Rob Steidlitz, front, and Jim Kutsch on their 70-pound tandem bike, training for the 2011 Gran Fondo NJ. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Before joining Convergys, he was an executive at AT&T and Bell Labs; he began his career as a professor of Computer Science at West Virginia University. For his doctoral dissertation research, Kutsch did pioneering work in developing the first talking computer for blind computer users.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in computer science from West Virginia University, and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Illinois. He lives in Morristown with his wife, Ginger, who also is a graduate of The Seeing Eye.

Ginger Kutsch and her guide dog Willa, on Seeing Eye walking tour, June 23, 2018. Photo by Carly Cannavina
Ginger Kutsch and her guide dog Willa, on Seeing Eye walking tour, June 23, 2018. Photo by Carly Cannavina

The Seeing Eye provides specially bred and trained dogs to guide people who are blind. Seeing Eye® dog users experience greatly enhanced mobility and independence, allowing them to retain their active lifestyles despite blindness.

The Seeing Eye is a philanthropy supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, bequests, and other planned gifts.

The Seeing Eye is a trademarked name and can only be used to describe the dogs bred and trained at the school’s facilities in Morristown, N.J.

For more information on The Seeing Eye, visit www.SeeingEye.org, call (973) 539-4425, or email info@seeingeye.org.

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