By and  on April 3, 2007

PARIS — The moment has arrived for a changing of the guard at YSL Beauté, run for the past seven years by Chantal Roos.

WWD has learned that the beauty arm of Gucci Group today will name Roos its strategic adviser for the fragrance and cosmetics industries, a new, Paris-based post reporting to Gucci Group president and chief executive officer Robert Polet.

Succeeding Roos as president and ceo of YSL Beauté will be Andrea Barbier, a L'Oréal executive with a strong track record of driving businesses to profitable growth. An Italian national, Barbier, 45, assumes the post May 2, also reporting to Polet.

A Gucci Group spokeswoman confirmed the appointments late Monday. A release is expected soon, possibly today.

Most recently, Barbier was L'Oréal's general manager of consumer products for the Latin American market, overseeing 10 countries and a fast-growing business estimated at more than 600 million euros, or $801.9 million at current exchange. Previously, he was a general manager of Garnier-Maybelline in Italy. Barbier holds a law degree and an M.B.A. and also has held executive positions in marketing and sales at Kraft Foods Italia.

Barbier's appointment ends a long search to succeed Roos, one of the most accomplished and high-profile executives in the industry. It is understood the search was led by Russell Reynolds Associates.

In her new role, Roos will identify and develop opportunities in beauty for the world's third-largest luxury player. Her expanded role should help scuttle industry speculation that Gucci Group was looking to exit the beauty business.

Meanwhile, Barbier — described by one source as a "hidden jewel" within L'Oréal's vast corporate structure — inherits a business that recently rebounded to profitable growth. Under Roos' leadership, there has been a sharp focus on priority brands and streamlining business practices, which together have resulted in gains at YSL Beauté. Last year, revenues rose 2.6 percent to 624 million euros, or $783.9 million at average yearly exchange. Recurring operating income leaped 77.8 percent to 32 million euros, or $40.2 million, in the period. Gross margins rose sharply, plus 2 points, driven by price increases and optimized production.

Roos was at an off-site seminar on Monday and could not immediately be reached for comment. But her accomplishments are well known. During her career, Roos masterminded the creation of blockbuster fragrances for brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Issey Miyake and Jean Paul Gaultier, among others.

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