Tim Pugh to Succeed Robert Howard as Cooke Optics CEO

Robert Howard and Les Zellan
Robert Howard and Les Zellan (Image credit: Cooke Optics)

LEICESTER, U.K.—A changing of the guard is taking place at Cooke Optics, as the lens manufacturer has announced that Les Zellan, chairman, and Robert Howard, CEO, are set to retire on Oct. 31. Tim Pugh has been tapped to replace Howard, and Kees van Oostrum will become a non-executive chairman.

Zellan took over Cooke Optics in 1998, helping to resuscitate the 100-year-old brand. Howard joined the company in 2008.

“It has been my honor to lead Cooke from relative obscurity to its rightful place in the industry,” said Zellan. “They say ‘it takes a village,’ and I would like to thank our dedicated staff and countless industry friends and colleagues around the world who have helped to shape Cooke’s product line, giving cinematographers and directors the choices that help them tell their stories in the best possible way.”

Tim Pugh

Tim Pugh (Image credit: Cooke Optics)

Pugh was most recently the CEO of James Bridges Ltd., a manufacturer of technical products for industrial and automotive markets. van Oostrum is currently a Cooke Optics board member, as well as a cinematographer for both TV and film and a previous president of the American Society of Cinematographers (2016-2020).

“Both Les and Robert have achieved what some would consider miraculous during their 20 years with Cooke,” said Pugh. “They are highly respected throughout the industry and will be a tough act to follow. … Kees and I are excited to take the reins of this beloved company as we move into the next stage of Cooke’s evolution with the on-going support of Caledonia Private Capital.”