By  on January 21, 2005

NEW YORK — Meet the new chief executive of Pink, Deborah Fine. After building Avon’s 18-month-old Mark brand into a multimillion dollar business, Fine will leave her post as president of Avon Future on March 1 to join Limited Brands as chief executive officer of Pink. In this newly created role, Fine will be charged with expanding Pink — Victoria’s Secret’s subbrand of sleepwear and loungewear — into a lifestyle brand for young women.

Pink was introduced in spring 2001 as a fragrance with a “fun, flirty” positioning. Victoria’s Secret then began test-marketing Pink lingerie, rolling it out to top-tier stores during the 2003 holiday season. The Pink assortment is found in 1,000 Victoria’s Secret stores. 

“We realized over the last year that based on customer response to Pink sleepwear and loungewear, there is a lot of untapped potential to broaden the assortment,” said a Limited Brands spokesman. “We needed to bring in someone who understands the Pink consumer — women 18 to 22 years old.”

While the firm would not comment on future Pink categories, the brand’s scent heritage and Fine’s beauty background would make for a natural extension into the bath and body and cosmetics categories.

Fine joined Avon in 2001 to lead the company’s efforts to court a younger demographic.

Mark, peddled by an army of young Mark representatives, generated $17 million in net sales in 2003. During a meeting with investors held Dec. 8, Avon said it anticipated 2004 net sales of $45 million. The brand, which consists of 400 stockkeeping units, is scheduled to begin a global rollout by year’s end.

Prior to Avon, Fine spent 23 years in the magazine industry, holding various executive positions at Condé Nast Publications Inc. (which, like WWD, is owned by Advance Publications Inc.) as the vice president and publisher of Glamour magazine and publisher of Bride’s magazine.

Fine described her decision to leave Avon as “bittersweet.” “It has been the most extraordinary privilege to work with Andrea Jung,” said Fine. She jokingly referred to herself — as she often does — as the mother of Mark, and Jung — chairman and chief executive officer of Avon Products Inc. — as the grandmother of the teen-targeted brand.While Avon has not named Fine’s replacement, an Avon spokesman noted, “the entire entrepreneurial team that helped create and launch Mark will continue to fill their roles in building the brand.”

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