Shiseido Taps Hisayuki Suekawa as President, CEO

Longtime executive will replace Shinzo Maeda, who will become chairman.

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Japanese cosmetics giant Shiseido Co., Ltd. has put forth its ceo succession plan and made a major appointment in New York.

This story first appeared in the January 13, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The company said Wednesday its board has appointed longtime executive Hisayuki Suekawa as president and chief executive officer to succeed Shinzo Maeda.

Meanwhile, in New York, Beaute Prestige International, the designer fragrance division of Shiseido, named Patrice Beliard its new president. He’ll take that post March 1.

At Shiseido’s headquarters in the Ginza, Maeda, 63, will take on the role of chairman at the beauty company. The change will be effective April 1.

A spokeswoman for Shiseido said Maeda and other board members had been thinking about making a change at the top level of management for several years and ultimately made a decision at the end of last year. She said Maeda, who has helmed the company since 2005, considers this the right time to step down.

During his tenure, Maeda spearheaded a number of initiatives. He cut down the number of brands the company sells in Japan to better focus its image, he accelerated its growth in China and oversaw its acquisition of Bare Escentuals. Although the company still does most of its business in Japan, it has internationalized itself considerably in recent years.

Suekawa, 51, joined the company in 1982, working in various departments including sales and corporate planning. In 2008, he became Maeda’s “right-hand man” as corporate officer and general manager of corporate planning, the company said.

Suekawa said he plans to continue to carry out Maeda’s vision for the company to become more global.

“I plan to build close relationships with all stakeholders to develop Shiseido into an even greater force in the world,” he said.

In New York, Beliard, a BPI veteran of more than 11 years, began his tenure in Paris then handled the South American market from Miami. He subsequently moved to Japan, where he oversaw the Chinese market from Tokyo. For the last five years, Beliard has been general director of BPI in Milan, where the firm’s Narciso Rodriguez fragrance business is flourishing.

He noted the designer’s signature women’s scent ranks number three or four in Italy’s selective perfumery market. “It’s a big business for us,” said Beliard, adding that Italy is Rodriguez’s biggest fragrance market, accounting for upward of 22 percent of the seven-year-old business.

Eric Henry, chief operating officer of BPI, agreed, noting that Italy, which has about 3,000 perfumeries, represents 8 percent of BPI’s total business. “We’re overperforming in Italy,” he said. He estimated Rodriguez and the firm’s Issey Miyake and Jean Paul Gaultier fragrances are in more than 50 percent of Italy’s perfumery network and about 19,000 doors worldwide.

Given the performance of the Rodriguez fragrance business in Europe, Henry said it’s important for BPI to focus on the women’s scent. “We’re looking for greater volume through increased market share of core lines, [and Narciso Rodriguez] For Her.”

Henry added that Elie Saab’s fragrance is on track for an early-fall introduction and that BPI has its feelers out when it comes to scouting new distribution deals. The firm distributes Hermès and Annick Goutal scents and is looking for more specialty store brands.

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