By  on December 10, 2004

NEW YORK — Clairol gave its new leader, Patrice Louvet, a very ceremonial introduction to beauty editors Wednesday, taking over the Presidential Suite at the Ritz Carlton Hotel for the occasion. The French-born Louvet assumed his new role as general manager, Global Design & North America Retail Hair Color, Procter & Gamble’s Clairol division, this fall, following the retirement of Robert Matteucci from the post of vice president, Global Retail Hair Color and Professional. Louvet reports to Marc Pritchard, president of Global Cosmetics and Retail Hair Colorants.

Prior to joining Clairol’s corporate offices in Stamford, Conn., the P&G executive was based in Japan and served as general manager, Northeast Asia Hair Care.

His first order of business, said Louvet, “is to understand the category and the portfolio we need to meet consumers’ needs.” During his U.S. retail tour (Wal-Mart is scheduled next), Louvet said he found that retailers are looking to manufacturers, such as Clairol, to grow hair color sales — category sales are flat over last year, according to ACNielsen. To bolster sales, Clairol plans to enhance the hair color shopping experience in the same way that its parent company, P&G, has done in the hair care aisles. It also has a full slate of launches planned for spring — the most notable of which is Nice ’n Easy Root Touch-Up, a kit designed to cover roots in 10 minutes that could potentially bring salon-goers to the hair color aisle of chain drugstores.

Louvet used his first official event with the editors to press for placements, commenting “Hair color is the No. 1 category women spend money on,” politely adding that it gets the least area of coverage in beauty books.

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