Donald J. Loftus Tapped as New President of Parlux

Executive told WWD that the new opportunity represented an irresistible chance to straddle both his retail and product development backgrounds.

Don Loftus

Donald J. Loftus is coming out of a brief retirement and stepping into a new role: president of Parlux Ltd. and executive vice president of Perfumania Inc.

This story first appeared in the April 5, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Loftus, 58, announced his retirement as North American president and chief executive officer of Procter & Gamble Prestige in January but told WWD exclusively on Thursday that the new opportunity represented an irresistible chance to straddle both his retail and product development backgrounds. The parent company, Perfumania Holdings Inc., is a vertically integrated wholesale fragrance distributor, with its subsidiaries including Parlux, the fragrance development company, as well as the Perfumania specialty fragrance retailer arm, which operates 350 stores.

Loftus’ appointment is effective immediately. He will report to Stephen Nussdorf, executive chairman of the board of directors for Perfumania Holdings Inc.

The appointment caps off a year of reorganization for the parent company, Perfumania Holdings Inc., which in December 2011 announced its intention to acquire Parlux Fragrances Inc. for about $170 million. “The combination of Perfumania and Parlux is a major step toward building a more significant and financially stronger designer fragrance and beauty products company,” Mike Katz, Perfumania’s president and ceo, told WWD when the acquisition was announced. The deal closed in April 2012, and in the interim, redundancies and restructuring were addressed. Parlux founder, president and ceo Fred Purches retired in January.

The parent company’s portfolio with Parlux now includes the fragrance brands of Rihanna, Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson, Vince Camuto and Nicole Miller, among others. Loftus noted that Jay-Z’s fragrance is also on the horizon: “The company’s building the fragrances with a luxury focus,” said Loftus. “And we have great diversification, with designer, classic and celebrity brands.” While at P&G, Loftus worked on the Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Lacoste, Escada and Hugo Boss scents, among many other projects.

Loftus hinted Thursday that retail also will be a priority for him. “We’re looking to approach retail in a customizable way going forward,” he said, noting that the strategy could yield new retail concepts, keyed to the interests and demographics of different markets — for instance, a youthful installation in a college town.

“As we continue to grow our retail division and portfolio of prestige scents, Don’s experience, creativity and leadership will play an integral role in further developing synergistic partnerships and strategic branding initiatives,” said Nussdorf, adding that Loftus’ “world-class experience” will allow him to “lead Parlux and Perfumania into a new era.” Nussdorf noted that Loftus’ “extensive retail, marketing and management background” will “spearhead future strategies” for the company in both retail and fine fragrances.

Loftus began his beauty career in Cleveland in 1976 as a retailer with Halle’s and May Co., where he rose to divisional vice president of cosmetics and accessories. He then served in a series of sales, marketing and top management jobs, including president and ceo of Sanofi Beauté’s U.S. affiliate and a similar job at Escada Beauté Ltd., which was acquired by Wella and reorganized as Cosmopolitan Cosmetics. Loftus was president and ceo of Cosmopolitan’s U.S. division when Wella was acquired by P&G in 2003.

Perfumania Holdings’ other subsidiaries include Quality Fragrance Group, Scents of Worth and Five Star Fragrances.