By  on September 21, 2007

NEW YORK — The U.S. division of Christian Dior Couture has made its second change in top management in 17 months.

Pamela Baxter, president of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton's Perfume and Cosmetics Group, is adding the role of president of Christian Dior Inc. to her responsibilities, effective Oct. 1. Baxter is replacing Patricia Malone, who is leaving to pursue other interests.

According to a Dior statement, "The move reflects Dior's appreciation of Pamela Baxter's success in managing the North American perfumes and cosmetics business and it looks forward to her leadership in these expanded responsibilities."

Baxter is no stranger to the Dior brand. As the U.S. head of LVMH's perfume and cosmetics division, her areas include Christian Dior Perfumes as well as Guerlain and Parfums Givenchy. Baxter joined LVMH in 2003 from the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., where she was president of Lauder's Specialty Brands Group. Since then, the beauty industry veteran has been credited with transforming Dior's North American beauty business, which was sleepy and struggling, into a fashion-forward division by tightening its distribution to focus its image, and aligning it with the fashion heritage and the apparel's distribution.

"I have spent 30 years in the beauty industry, but fashion has been a passion of mine for a long time," Baxter said on Thursday. "I am pleased they are giving me this opportunity to build on these synergies in the world of Dior."

Baxter added that, while Dior is a fashion house, it has many facets with categories such as accessories, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics and perfume. In her new role, she will be able to align the various divisions for a consistent message.

"It's a whole image-driven business that appeals to a woman and she buys into the whole Dior look," Baxter said. "This gives us an opportunity to align the brand and image from top to bottom."

The shift in top executives at Dior U.S. is the second in less than two years. In April 2006, Malone replaced Marla Sabo at the helm amid growing speculation Dior's U.S. sales were underperforming, a notion Dior executives have fervently denied in the past. Malone had been Gucci's president prior to joining Dior, and had worked for the Italian brand for 17 years, through Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole's revival and exit.

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