NEW YORK — L’Oréal Group has confirmed a WWD report by announcing that Laurent Attal will succeed Jean-Paul Agon as president and chief executive officer of its $4 billion L’Oréal USA affiliate here.Meanwhile, at L’Oréal headquarters, the company said, as expected, that Marc Menesguen has been named as successor to Gilles Weil, who is retiring as the head of the company’s huge luxury products division, one of the key posts in the world’s largest beauty company.The appointment of Attal confirms speculation that appeared in an article on Feb. 18.Attal, 47, will assume his position atop L’Oréal USA on July 1. Agon, who will succeed L’Oréal chairman and ceo Lindsay Owen-Jones in the role of ceo next year, is expected to head to Paris by the end of this summer. It is anticipated that Agon will become ceo of the $18 billion L’Oréal Group in April 2006, while Owen-Jones will continue as a non-executive chairman and president of the board of directors.Attal joined L’Oréal in 1986 and managed several of the company’s businesses in France before he was appointed ceo of Vichy International in 1994. Four years later, he was appointed head of L’Oréal’s active cosmetics division. The division, which is viewed as a key area of future growth for L’Oréal, includes the Vichy, La Roche Posay and Innéov brands. In 1984, Attal received a PhD in medicine, specializing in dermatology.“Enthusiastic, energetic and a great communicator, Laurent Attal is an excellent manager and a great team leader,” stated Owen-Jones. “I have no doubt that he will use these exceptional talents to take L’Oréal USA to new heights in the years to come.”In past interviews, Owen-Jones has pointed to brands in the active cosmetics category as among those in the forefront of L’Oréal’s future.In Paris, Menesguen, 49, will become managing director of L’Oréal’s luxury products division, starting May 1.He has been at L’Oréal since 1985. Among the positions he’s held there are: general manager of L’Oréal Paris in the U.K. and a parallel position in France. In 1996, he was named managing director of Lancôme International. In 2000, he moved up to president of L’Oréal Japan, and in 2004, he returned to Paris as deputy managing director of the luxury products division.“His vision, his energy, his sense of judgment, his total commitment, and his in-depth knowledge of luxury products and their market give Marc Menesguen every legitimacy for running the division,” Owen-Jones said in a statement.Weil has been president of L’Oréal’s luxury division since 1991.
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