NEW YORK -- Lawrence J. Aiken has found his ticket to France.Since early January, Sanofi Beaute has been searching for an executive to head its American operations, allowing Aiken, president and chief executive officer of the New York-based subsidiary, to relocate to the parent company's headquarters in Paris.This week, Aiken got his man in Donald J. Loftus, who for over a year has been president and chief operating officer of Vepro USA Ltd., which markets Gianni Versace's fragrances here.Loftus will join Sanofi on March 14 as executive vice president and chief operating officer. He will report to Aiken, who plans to leave for his new post on May 1.In addition to retaining his responsibilities with the American subsidiary, Aiken will join the international management team of Claude Saujet, chairman of Sanofi Beaute SA and Yves Saint Laurent Parfums.Following Elf-Sanofi's acquisition of YSL last year, Aiken became worldwide president of Sanofi's American brands, which include Oscar de la Renta and Perry Ellis. He has been handling the global responsibilities from New York through a staff in Paris."Don will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the company," Aiken said this week. "The seven vice presidents who reported to me will report to him."The areas of responsibility represented by the vice presidents are finance, human resources, operations, management information systems, sales and the marketing of both the European and American brands.The new job represents a homecoming for Loftus, who not only once worked for Sanofi, but also for YSL before its acquisition. He was the vice president of sales at YSL from 1988 to 1990 and was recruited by Aiken to hold the same job at Sanofi.He left Sanofi in October 1992 to join Vepro."It's flattering to be called back by a company you had worked for," said Loftus, who was reached in Milan on Wednesday. "The opportunity they are offering me is quite exciting."Loftus was referring to an upcoming flurry of fragrance launches, including Van Cleef and YSL's Champagne this year and 360° for Men by Perry Ellis in April 1995.Last year, the acquisition of YSL added roughly $50 million to Sanofi's U.S. business, pushing total wholesale volume to $204 million by the end of last year. Aiken declined to give projections, but sources indicate that Sanofi is shooting for $220 million in North American volume this year and $250 million in 1995.Prior to joining YSL, Loftus worked as a retailer with May Co. Cleveland from 1974 to 1986. In 1976, when he was a department manager of men's wear in the Great Northern branch, his branch divisional merchandise manager was Lawrence J. Aiken.Noting that this will be the third time the two have worked together, Aiken said, "I told him we'll keep doing it until we get it right."
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