By  on May 9, 2008

The seventh WWD Beauty CEO Summit will open Monday evening at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla., with a presentation by Myron E. "Mike" Ullman 3rd, chairman and chief executive officer of J.C. Penney Co. Inc. Ullman will be interviewed by Edward Nardoza, editor in chief of WWD.

As one of the chief agents of change in American retailing, Ullman is a fitting choice to open a conference titled "Beauty's Changing Nature." The topic has already proven to be compelling, since the conference has already set a new attendance record — drawing registrations from nearly 240 industry executives.

Perhaps that's because the theme is an apt description of the current state of the industry, which appears to be in flux on virtually every front — from the profile of the new consumer, to her shopping habits, to her daily priorities in choosing products to her preferences in the kinds of ingredients she trusts. It's a new era.

That is one of the reasons why there are more retailers than usual from different venues and regions in the lineup of speakers. In addition to Ullman, they include Stephen I. Sadove, chairman and ceo of Saks Inc.; Mindy Grossman, ceo of IAC Retailing; Paolo de Cesare, president and ceo of Printemps Department Store, Paris; Govind Shrikhande, ceo of Shopper's Stop Ltd. from India; Minda Gralnek, vice president and creative director of Target Corp., and Guy Look, chief financial officer of Sa Sa International Holdings Ltd. in Hong Kong.

While the retailers provide the closest proximity to this newly emerging consumer, there also have been a number of emerging brands that have appealed to her tastes. This group is represented by John Replogle, president and ceo of Burt's Bees Inc.; Leslie A. Blodgett, ceo of Bare Escentuals Inc., and digital expert Lars Bastholm, executive creative director of AKQA New York.

But the meeting would not be a summit without voices from the major competitors who shape much of the market. They will be represented by Paolo Gasparrini, president and managing director of L'Oréal China; Virginia Drosos, president of global personal beauty for Procter & Gamble Beauty; William P. Lauder, ceo of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., and Carsten Fischer, corporate executive officer and chief officer of the international business division of Shiseido Co. Ltd.Meanwhile, much of the fuel for these meetings comes from the panel discussions — and this summit is no exception. One panel will profile the new consumer and the other will explore the mergers and acquisitions phenomenon. No cosmetics meeting is complete without a market analysis, and that will be ably provided by Wendy Liebmann, founder and ceo of WSL Strategic Retail Inc.

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