PARIS — Beauty executives here said the departure of Chantal Roos as president and chief executive officer of YSL Beaute marks the end of an era of trendsetting fragrance marketers who put their personal stamp on the industry.
Christian Courtin, president and ceo of Groupe Clarins, described Roos as a grande dame. "Chantal is someone who knows fragrances, but the world of fragrance has changed to become a universe of marketing," he said. "It's somewhat disappointing."
Starting May 2, Roos will become Gucci Group's strategic adviser for the fragrance and cosmetics industries. Andrea Barbier is to replace her at YSL Beauté. Both will report to Gucci Group president and ceo Robert Polet. The announcement on Tuesday confirmed a WWD report.
Roos spent Tuesday saying goodbye to her staff.
"That was a tough moment; it was the most difficult. All during these years, we have tackled many difficulties and we have made it here with success," she said of the seven-year effort to turn the company around, first by cleaning up YSL, then incorporating new brands, before addressing the profitability question and consolidating the portfolio.
Three brands were launched in 2003 alone, as Boucheron was being absorbed. YSL Beauté now includes the YSL brand plus Stella McCartney, Boucheron, Roger & Gallet and Alexander McQueen as a designer niche. Licenses include Oscar de la Renta and Ermenegildo Zegna.
Roos is leaving the company in better shape than she found it. L'Homme Yves Saint Laurent, last year's hit men's fragrance, continues to perform, makeup sales are growing at a double-digit rate and Roos predicted that "2007 will be spectacular" with the launch of a women's fragrance in the fall.
Asked if she had any regrets, Roos said, "I've never been a satisfied person. I always question myself."
In her new position with the Gucci Group, Roos will search for opportunities for the company. Her mission to look for ways to grow the business should silence speculation about Gucci exiting the beauty business. Roos said she would have an office at Gucci headquarters and would keep normal hours.
"The job will be whatever I make of it," she noted. But judging from her remarks, it will be a full-time position. "I will never retire; I have plenty of ideas. I am very excited about the new assignment," she said.
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