As H. Ross Perot once said, inventories can be managed but people must be led. Strong leadership is particularly critical now, as the beauty industry continues to grapple with the fallout of the global economic crisis and the shifting paradigm of consumer behavior in an age of uncertainty.
Along with the changing landscape has come a new era of leadership for two of beauty’s biggest players. The Estée Lauder Cos. recently elevated Fabrizio Freda to chief executive officer after 16 months as chief operating officer, while Ed Shirley has taken the reins of Procter & Gamble’s beauty and grooming business as vice chair of the division.
Each has a strong vision for strengthening the position of their respective companies during tumultuous times and beyond. Freda comes to his post as an outsider, joining Lauder from P&G where he oversaw the global snack division. His ambitious strategy for Lauder includes ideating and implementing a global vision for the company, driving out inefficiencies and growing the mature brands while looking to increase sales from underexploited categories. “The real long-term goal,” he tells WWD’s executive editor of beauty Pete Born and beauty financial editor Molly Prior, “is to become so global that the opportunity to grow will be enormous.” His plan for achieving it is in “The New Guard.”
Shirley, too, is a relative outsider to P&G, having come to the firm as part of its acquisition of Gillette in 2005. Though P&G’s beauty and grooming business is massive—reaching almost $28 billion—recently sales have slowed. Shirley is charged with reigniting growth. His plans call for creating a cultural change at the 172-year-old packaged goods behemoth, one that places a premium on agility and innovation, fostering cross-brand collaboration and focusing on the men’s grooming business, thus far an underleveraged aspect of P&G’s portfolio. “What I see as the big opportunity is to identify how we can play across brands and across categories,” he tells me in “Team Shirley Takes the Field.” He’s thinking big. P&G has promised Wall Street growth of between 4 to 6 percent, but says Shirley, “I’m a very competitive and driven leader and I look forward to finding a way to do better than that.”
Though their businesses are considerably smaller, the five young CEOs featured in “5x5” — all of whom are under the age of 40 — are not only surviving but thriving. Their brands represent the future of the industry, and as such, we were curious about how they’re leading during times of crisis. “As niche brands, we can react more promptly and we can shape the future,” says Etienne de Swardt, ceo of Etat Libre d’Orange. We are six people, not 600 to transform, so we can take advantage of potential new opportunities.” And in times like these, no matter the size of the company, seizing opportunity is music to our ears.
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)