PARIS -- Claude Saujet, who had been chairman and chief executive officer of Sanofi Beaute SA since 1991 and oversaw last year's integration of Parfums Yves Saint Laurent into the group, has apparently been forced out of the company, confirming a...
PARIS -- Claude Saujet, who had been chairman and chief executive officer of Sanofi Beaute SA since 1991 and oversaw last year's integration of Parfums Yves Saint Laurent into the group, has apparently been forced out of the company, confirming a report in these columns Friday.
At a meeting Friday afternoon of the board of Elf-Sanofi, which owns Sanofi Beaute, the directors voted to name Jean-Paul Leon, director of corporate strategy, as the interim replacement for Saujet until a new chief is found. The meeting was presided over by Jean-Francois Dehecq, chairman of Elf-Sanofi.
On Thursday, Saujet had labeled reports that he was leaving Sanofi as "absolutely false."
A Sanofi statement confirming Saujet's departure said only that he had "left the group" effective Friday and gave no reason for his exit. A spokeswoman for the company, however, said the change was brought about by "a classic case of differences over management strategy."
She noted that Saujet was appointed chief of the cosmetics and fragrance division long before the possibility came up of acquiring YSL, and that the takeover had dramatically changed the dynamics of the group's cosmetics operations and the scope of his responsibilities.
"The merger with Saint Laurent has been very successful, but now the time has come to make decisions about the future direction of this larger entity," she said.
Reached Saturday at his vacation home in Cannes, Saujet said his departure was an amicable one and added that the disagreement centered around Dehecq's desire to completely integrate beauty into the group's dominant pharmaceuticals business.
"This had been building up for several months," Saujet said. "My own personal view is that beauty can't be mixed in with Sanofi Pharma. Pharmaceuticals is a completely different business, and the people who are good at it are not the same as the ones who are successful in cosmetics."
Specifically, he cited a recent decision to appoint a pharmaceuticals executive to oversee the beauty division of Sanofi's Swiss subsidiary.
Saujet first joined Sanofi in 1975. When Parfums Van Cleef was founded at Sanofi, he was its first head. He left Sanofi in 1980 and went to Cartier's U.S. subsidiary, eventually becoming chairman. From 1985 to 1990, he was president of Harry Winston, then returned to Sanofi and became chairman in July 1991.His departure could have implications for other Sanofi executives. The Sanofi spokeswoman said there were "question marks" about some plans already announced by Saujet, notably the transfer to Paris of Lawrence J. Aiken, president and chief executive officer of the New York-based Sanofi Beaute Inc. and worldwide president of the group's American brands, which include Oscar de la Renta and Perry Ellis. The spokeswoman would not give further details.
Donald Loftus was recently hired to become executive vice president of the American business to oversee daily operations after Aiken's scheduled relocation on May 1.
(In Boca Raton, Fla., Aiken, who was attending the annual convention of the Cosmetic, Toiletries and Fragrance Association, said he could not comment until he spoke with Elf-Sanofi executives.)
Pierre Berge, president of Yves Saint Laurent Couture, which was acquired along with the YSL cosmetics business in May in a deal valued at $630 million, had little to say about the move: "It's a decision by Mr. Dehecq, and I haven't worked long enough with Claude Saujet to form a strong opinion and make a reasonable comment."
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews