Appeared In
Special Issue
Beauty Inc issue 08/10/2012

PZ Cussons Beauty’s chief executive officer Michelle Feeney has had a meteoric rise since starting out in fashion show production and p.r. in the early Eighties.

This story first appeared in the August 10, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.


Feeney, who hails from Birmingham, England, was appointed to her current position at PZ Cussons’ newest division in February 2011, a year after the Manchester, England–based company acquired the St. Tropez tanning brand (where Feeney had been ceo). Before joining St. Tropez in 2006, Feeney spent 11 years at the Estée Lauder Cos., where her roles included vice president of global communications for MAC Cosmetics. There, she was part of a management team that grew the brand from a $65 million business to a $1 bil- lion powerhouse.

Feeney’s achievements at St. Tropez were no less illustrious. She gave the packaging a sleek overhaul and employed Aromaguard technology to do away with self-tanner’s tell-tale unpleasant scent. Feeney also expanded St. Tropez’s product lines to include sun protection, tan-enhancing makeup and skin-illuminating products.

Now at PZ Cussons Beauty, she’s plotting the global expansion of the division’s brands, including St. Tropez, Sanctuary Spa, Charles Worthington and Fudge hair care, which PZ Cussons acquired in January.

“We will continue to deliver accessible beauty via accessible distribution channels,” she says. “Over the coming 12 months, we’ll be rolling out our portfolio globally, with particular focus on North America and Asia. we will continue to look at relevant acquisitions to add strength to the portfolio.”

Feeney recently launched new packaging for Sanctuary Spa and tapped former royal Ballet prima ballerina Darcey Bussell as the face of its new skin-care line, which will debut on QVC in the U.S., Australia and Germany in September. She’s also introduced a Charles worthington Salon at Home hair-straightening line and plans to distribute Fudge in the U.S. PZ Cussons’ estimated 2011 beauty sales were £286.4 million, up 8.6% year-on-year.