By and  on November 1, 2006

Chanel is importing its next U.S. chief from the beauty world.

The company named John Galantic as president and chief operating officer of Chanel Inc. He joins from Coty Inc., where he was president of Coty Beauty U.S., the firm's mass market arm. Before that, he held senior positions at SmithKline Beecham and the Procter & Gamble Co.

At Chanel, Galantic will take on the title and responsibilities currently held by Maureen Chiquet, who was promoted to Chanel's global chief executive officer last month. Chiquet will assume her new role on Jan. 1. Galantic's first day at Chanel is still being determined.

Galantic will lead the strategic and operational activity for Chanel Inc. in the U.S., reporting to Chiquet. In his area of responsibility will be product categories such as fashion, accessories, watches, fine jewelry, beauty and fragrance, as well as wholesale distribution and freestanding retail. In the U.S., there are 22 freestanding stores, and the collection is sold at upscale specialty stores such as Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale's and Saks Fifth Avenue.

In an exclusive interview, Chiquet praised Gal­antic's "multicultural" character, which "is a great advantage for a business like Chanel," she said. "He is half-Italian, half-American, and he speaks Italian and French. Having a global view is very important, and John has great creative skills as well as strong analytical skills. He is also incredibly warm and has a high level of integrity. For us, it's a great hire."

During his five-year tenure at Coty Inc., Galantic oversaw its mass-market portfolio, including Rim­mel cosmetics — fronted by model Kate Moss — Calgon, The Healing Garden, Adidas and Stetson.

Galantic, who exudes a boyish charm, injected celebrity into Coty's mass market beauty business, wrangling stars to front several of its brands. For instance, he paired Jewel with The Healing Garden and Matthew McConaughey with Stetson Black, a men's fragrance. Galantic also looked to the music industry to create celebrity fragrance concepts, including Shania by Stetson, a scent created in collaboration with Shania Twain, and a host of Celine Dion fragrances. Since joining Coty in 2001, Galantic worked to convince retailers of the viability of mass market fragrances in the wake of secondarily sourced prestige scents that continue to flood broad distribution. He also is credited with creating new licensed brands with Nautica, Baby Phat and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.At the start of 2006, Galantic declared Rimmel as Coty Beauty's number-one priority, pitting the edgy, London-born cosmetics brand against mass market slawarts, including L'Oréal Paris and Revlon.

Globally, Rimmel is a $400 million brand and ranks number two in Europe in value share. In the U.S., the brand generated double-digit sales growth last year, increasing about 20 percent, as it continued to expand its distribution beyond the confines of Wal-Mart and into new mass market retailers. Industry sources estimate Rimmel's U.S. sales total $100 million. Galantic could not be reached for comment.

Galantic's background in mass had no impact on the hiring process. Chiquet pointed out that she came from a more mass world herself, working at Gap for 14 years, including as president of Banana Republic before joining Chanel. "To me, it was about finding somebody who loves the creative side and product, who has an analytical side, and who is a people person," Chiquet said. "That to me was much more important."

As part of her new global role, Chiquet is expected to be traveling extensively next year. "[Galantic] will have full rein on the running of the U.S. business," she said.

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