IRVINGTON, N.Y., Nov. 19, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- MELA Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq:MELA), developer of the MelaFind ® system, a non-invasive software-driven image analysis device approved for use in the U.S. and the European Union to assist dermatologists in melanoma diagnosis, today announced that its Board of Directors has named Michael R. Stewart, 57, as the company's next President and Chief Executive Officer, effective December 15. Mr. Stewart, who joined the MELA Sciences Board of Directors in August 2014, will remain a member of the board. Jeffrey O'Donnell, Chairman of the Board of MELA Sciences, stated, "I have worked closely with Mike in the past and have witnessed his skillful ability to build a business in the dermatology market, including executing a successful reimbursement program for PhotoMedex' XTRAC ® laser. Michael's leadership will be a tremendous benefit to the company, particularly as we navigate the course for obtaining insurance reimbursement for physicians' use of the system and more broadly as we seek to expand the use of the MelaFind system both domestically and internationally." Mr. Stewart replaces Rose Crane, who has resigned as President and CEO and member of the Board of Directors, effective immediately. Mr. Stewart served as president, chief executive officer and board member of NASDAQ-traded Surgical Laser Technologies, Inc. from 1999 until its sale in 2002 to global medical device and skin health company PhotoMedex. Post-acquisition and during his tenure with PhotoMedex, Mr. Stewart held the positions of chief operating officer and executive vice president and led the domestic and international sales organizations, marketing, product development and engineering, manufacturing and service operations. He successfully developed and executed a reimbursement strategy for the company's flagship dermatology product that resulted in the issuance of new Current Procedural Terminology (CPT ®) codes and reimbursement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as well as coverage policies with virtually all major insurance companies. "I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the MELA team as we execute the strategies that are designed to make the MelaFind system the standard of care for the early detection and diagnosis of melanoma," stated Mr. Stewart. "I look forward to carrying out the strategic initiatives that the company has articulated to date and bringing my knowledge and experience to bear on such an important technological development in the field of dermatology."