In the last issue of Viewfinder, I mentioned that Roger Horn, long-time friend and President of Leica Camera USA was retiring. This came to pass on July 1, 2020, after Roger had been with Leica for 46 years. As Roger noted in his “farewell address” to the Leica community, he has been with Leica since 1974, at first as a Cost Accountant. In speaking to Roger a few months ago about his pending retirement, he told me that his first job at Leica was to do an analysis on the Tilt-All tripod division. I’m sure a lot of you remember the Tilt-All fondly.
My acquaintance with Roger goes back to 1983, after I had opened up my Leica store with my father in the suburban Chicago area. By that time, Roger was the head of accounting at Leica USA. Needless to say, it always paid to be on good terms with the credit manager, Ray Tomaselli, whose boss was Roger! I would see Roger and Ray on my visits to HQ in New Jersey and at the PMA and Photokina trade shows. Roger’s career advanced steadily through the years, ultimately becoming the president of Leica USA, with Ray being the VP. We had all remained good friends over the years and had seen many people come and go, both at Leica USA and Leica Gemany. Believe me, it was quite an incredible and diverse cast of characters over the years!
After Roger became president, I worked with him on the LHSA Special Editions and also other benefits for LHSA members, including the member repair discount (please take advantage of it!), membership applications inserted into Leica USA product (years before our current program with Germany), and other behind the scenes work to benefit our members.
Roger would always take my calls, always ready to listen and always ready to help with whatever the issue was. Roger was instrumental in overcoming the many difficulties associated with making the Special Edition models become a reality. When discussing our relationship over the years, Roger being the modest person he is, conceded that he offered me counseling when I needed it! Recently, Roger took the time to host a Zoom meeting with me to personally introduce me to his successor as the new President of Leica USA, Mike Giannatta- sio. I look forward to working with Mike G in the future.
Roger, you have been a true friend, and I want to thank you again for your friendship and for all your help over the years. This is a rare thing these days, as CEO’s and heads of companies come and go through the proverbial revolving door. Roger, I will miss you and the Leica community will miss you too. Job well done!