Chanel Executive Changes Continue

Realignment at Chanel Inc. beauty division has resulted in the elimination of two vice president posts, the latest upper management shift.

NEW YORK — Realignments at Chanel Fragrance and Beauté have resulted in the elimination of two vice president posts, the latest in a number of upper management shifts over the last 17 months.

The executives affected include Annette Falso, who was vice president of new product development and training, and Richard Bleaman, who was vice president of sales promotion. A third executive, Bob Taylor, who was with Chanel for 12 years, most recently as senior vice president and national sales manager, has left the company. Chanel plans to fill the post formerly held by Taylor at a later date.

The company noted the moves were designed to help it reach strategic business objectives.

The changes effectively dismantle the top management that had existed at Chanel Inc.’s beauty division under Arie Kopelman, who was succeeded as president and chief operating officer of the company by Maureen Chiquet in October 2004. In the 17 months since Kopelman stepped down and became vice chairman of Chanel, Chiquet has steadily assembled a new team of top executives.

With the most recent departures, the beauty division’s sales and marketing departments have been realigned. Product development functions have been integrated into the marketing department. Elizabeth Mankin, senior vice president of marketing for beauty and skin care, will oversee product development for makeup and skin care, and Laurie Palma, senior vice president of marketing for fragrances and Internet, will oversee product development for fragrances.

Sales promotion functions have been combined with sales promotion administration, which will be overseen by Michele Ruggeri, executive director of sales promotion administration.

While installing new management, Chiquet has streamlined operations. For instance, last spring she consolidated public relations roles in fashion and beauty at Chanel, saying at the time she decided to combine them to provide “a unified vision.”

Last April, 27-year Chanel veteran Jean Hoehn Zimmerman departed as executive vice president of sales and marketing for fragrance and beauté in the U.S. During her tenure, Chanel’s U.S. beauty and fragrance business grew to almost $500 million at retail, according to NPD Beauty and other sources.

That same month, Chiquet appointed Christine Dagousset as Zimmerman’s successor. Dagousset had worked for seven years as Chanel’s international marketing director of skin care in Paris. Also last April, Rebekah Hirsch McCabe was appointed senior vice president of public relations for fragrance, beauté, fashion, fine jewelry and watches. Hirsch McCabe had previously worked at Ralph Lauren.

This story first appeared in the February 21, 2006 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

In December, Margeau Dyer was named as executive director of public relations for Chanel Inc.’s beauté and fragrance division.