Important biometric industry appointments in 2012

December 26, 2012 - 

Executive appointments, re-appointments and resignations are big news on Wall Street and are a large part of our daily new coverage at

One of the year’s most important appointments took place in June, according to, when Richard Agostinelli was appointed president and chief executive officer of DigitalPersona, Inc., a global provider of multi-factor authentication and access management solutions.

Previous to his appointment, Agostinelli was president of the biometrics division at L-1 Identity Solutions, until the unit was acquired by Morpho in 2011. At L-1 Identity Solutions, he was responsible for integrating products and people from several acquired businesses specializing in biometric technologies (face, fingerprint, and iris) and product lines (physical access, enterprise logical access, mobile ID terminals). Agostinelli helped transform that company from a biometric product supplier to a leading provider of end-to-end multimodal biometric solutions to businesses and governments around the world.

It is expected that at DigtalPersona, Agostinelli will continue to lead the firm into new, emerging geographic markets.  As BiometricUpdate reported in September, the new DigitalPersona CEO addressed the Biometrics Exhibition and Conference, which took place in London.

In a major conference session, Agostinelli talked about nations such as Nigeria and Brazil, where the democratic voting process is being embraced, allowing these emerging countries to step out of the “Third World” shadow. In order for these countries to have credible elections, they have to confront issues such as election fraud. Helping to reduce the potential of election fraud is fingerprint biometrics.

In the session, Agostinelli highlighted the 2012 elections in Brazil to demonstrate the benefits of fingerprint biometrics use, and emphasized that the use of the technology has spread to elections in over 20 other nations.

He noted that biometrics is becoming the new voter ID, and that the technology is evolving in a way that allows countries to identify their citizens. Agostinelli argued that a centralized voting process, coupled with compact, portable voting devices has allowed Brazil and other nations to tabulate elections within hours, with voters able to cast votes no matter where they live, crucial for nations like Brazil with inhabitants in all manner of remote locations.

In August according to, Human Recognition Systems , a UK-based enterprise biometric solutions firm, announced the appointment of John Tonkiss as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer.

Tonkiss started his career at Lucas Industries as an electronics and software engineer within their automotive business, before moving on to a number of operational and plant managerial roles. In 2001, he joined the relatively unknown UNITE Group plc, to set up its innovative modular manufacturing facility. During Tonkiss’ time with the group he undertook a number of senior management roles, most recently as Chief Operating Officer. UNITE is now a FTSE 250 listed company and the UK’s leading provider of purpose built student accommodation with over 1,000 employees.

Tonkiss succeeded Neil Norman who served as CEO since founding the company in 2001. Effective mid-August 20, Norman assumed a new strategic position within the company as Founder, Vice Chairman and Head of Innovation.

Finally, as reported in a month earlier, biometrics firm Animetrics, a leading developer of 2-D to 3-D face recognition solutions, appointed Dr. William A. Maniatty as principal software engineer and senior architect in charge of the firm’s new D.C. based software development office.

Maniatty has a wealth of experience in computer security and data mining and previously worked with Booz Allen Hamilton. He’s also noted for his work as an engineer at MITRE Corporation, IBM, and AltaVault. Maniatty gained technical expertise from his work within software security research program at a federal research agency.

It is expected that Animetrics will use its D.C. office not only to build new software products, but also to procure new business from the United States government.

IntegenX Inc., developer of the rapid human DNA identification technology system known as RapidHIT, also opened a new office in Washington, D.C.  Dr. Joseph A. DiZinno, the firm’s new Senior Director of Federal Programs, was appointed to manage the office.

Putting DiZinno at the helm of its D.C. office is a strategic move designed to cater to government clients.  He has extensive knowledge and understanding of the government, having spent 22 years at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  He ended his government career as Director of the FBI’s crime laboratory.

Finally in November, reported that AOptix, a technology innovation company that applies optics to transform identity verification and wireless communication, appointed Scott Clark as the company’s VP of Operations. In his new position as VP of Operations, Clark will be responsible for procurement, manufacturing, supply chain, logistics and customer support across AOptix’s two core businesses. This new appointment comes one month after AOptix reorganized its company into two separate units: Identity Solutions and Communications.

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About Rawlson King

Rawlson O’Neil King is a contributing editor at and is an experienced communications professional, management consultant, trade journalist and author who recently published a book about control and electronic networks and who has written numerous articles in trade publications and academic journals about smart home and building technologies. Follow him @rawlsonking2.