By  on December 8, 2006

GENEVA — Procter & Gamble Prestige Products wants to embark on a world tour.

To rev up its international engine, the beauty firm appointed Carolyn Tastad to the post of vice president of global prestige products, market development organization, at P&G Prestige.

In her new position, Tastad will oversee the company's international markets under global president Hartwig Langer.

Tastad joined the company in 2005 as vice president of customer business development for Canada and North America, a role created during the two-year integration of Cosmopolitan Cosmetics into its P&G's Prestige Products global hub in Geneva. She then worked as a vice president for the North American integration of the Gillette acquisition.

"Carolyn's position came out of the new structure," said Langer. "Before we merged businesses, we had eight brands and five affiliates. Now we have 30 to 40 brands and more than 20 affiliates. It's a much more complex business."

Tastad heads a 1,500-person staff at the company's regional hubs in Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S., and oversees operations in 30 other countries. "My role is focused on delivering great go-to-market capability ­— the things we need to bring our brands to life in the markets we serve, whether it's delighting the local consumers, building great partnerships with retailers or understanding dynamics of the market," said Tastad.

One of her key strategies for next year will be launching new marketing techniques to improve the in-store shopping experience for beauty products.

Though Tastad would not elaborate on the project, she said, "It's a huge opportunity to revitalize the in-store shopping experience and understand what our shopper wants and how to make it more fun." Tastad, who has given few interviews during her short tenure at the offices here, said it feels good to approach next year from a business-building standpoint after the past two years of "transition and integration." Another of Tastad's priorities is growing P&G Prestige Products' U.S. presence.

Before P&G Prestige Products and Cosmopolitan Cosmetics were integrated, distributor partner Clarins handled P&G's U.S. business. Since January, the U.S. P&G Prestige Products hub has been run by Donald Loftus, president and chief executive officer of P&G Prestige Products Inc."The U.S. is a very important and strategic market for us," said Tastad. "We're very pleased with our results to date and expect that our business model, our portfolio and our organization will enable us to continue to deliver strong business results." Though Tastad would not comment on sales figures for the U.S. market, she said it was a "healthy and fast-growing contributor" to the overall business.

Tasted cited Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry, Hugo Boss, Lacoste and Escada as brands expected to perform well in the U.S. "Escada has long been a U.S. staple, thanks to the fashion fragrance franchise, in which the U.S. is the lead market globally," she said.

Many industry insiders say P&G has been slow to tap a potentially huge market for prestige beauty products in North America.

A.G. Edwards & Sons analyst Jason M. Gere said that if the company parlayed its existing fragrance brands into cosmetics lines, as it plans to do with Dolce & Gabbana, it would help entrench P&G in U.S. department stores. However, he noted that P&G's size allows it to take a prudent approach to the U.S. market and put more muscle into developing markets. "P&G doesn't need every brand to be in every door for the company to grow."

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