By  on January 26, 2011

Claudia Poccia is leaving Avon Products Inc. to become president and chief executive officer of Gurwitch Products, parent company of the Laura Mercier and RéVive brands. She replaces Sharon Collier, who has left the company.

Poccia’s appointment is effective Feb. 21, and she will report to the Gurwitch board. The board stated that Poccia will be charged with leadership responsibility for the Mercier and RéVive brands, as well as with expanding the Gurwitch Products portfolio.

“What attracted me was the opportunity to lead two brands with incredible equity into the future, and the opportunity to develop and grow a whole portfolio of prestige brands,” Poccia told WWD Tuesday afternoon from Houston, where she was greeting her new team.

“Claudia has an impressive track record in the global beauty industry,” stated James Weaver, chairman of the Gurwitch board. “She brings to our company great expertise, extraordinary vision and genuine passion for our customers. Gurwitch Products is uniquely positioned for significant gains in both revenue and market share and, with Claudia at the helm, we expect to achieve ambitious global growth.”

Poccia was most recently global president of Avon’s Mark business. Before joining Mark in 2005, she spent 11 years at the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., where she held a series of roles, including senior vice president and general manager of Stila, where she developed and led the company’s long-term distribution and marketing strategies. In that role, she doubled the brand’s sales volume in two years.

In her role at Mark, Poccia launched a Facebook widget in 2010 which turned the social media site into a sales platform: the application allows Mark’s 50,000 representatives to put together customized product assortments and market them to friends in their news feeds. Interested parties can then browse and buy those products without leaving Facebook. Poccia also led a number of strategic brand alliances for the company while at Avon, including signing Patrick Dempsey, Jillian Dempsey, Derek Jeter and Jennifer Hudson for Avon, and Ashley Greene, Lauren Conrad and Jordin Sparks for Mark.

Gurwitch Products was founded in 1995 by Janet Gurwitch and Gary Kusin, in partnership with Neiman Marcus, as a response to the increasing number of niche brands entering the prestige beauty market. The company is now wholly owned by Alticor, a privately owned consumer products firm, which specializes in niche and developing brands.

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