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A Changing of the Guard at Parfums Christian Dior

Laurent Kleitman succeeds Claude Martinez as the brand’s president and chief executive officer.

PARIS — There is a changing of the guard at one of the world’s largest fragrance and beauty brands — Parfums Christian Dior — after almost two decades.

Laurent Kleitman has been named president and chief executive officer of the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned brand, effective Nov. 6, according to an internal announcement seen by WWD. He succeeds Claude Martinez, who helmed Parfums Christian Dior for the past 19 years.

Martinez will become managing director of LVMH Perfumes and Cosmetics, with oversight of Guerlain, Parfums Givenchy and Parfums Kenzo, as well as Parfums Christian Dior.

After decades working in the beauty industry, most recently at Coty Inc., Kleitman brings to Dior deep international consumer goods experience, as well as broad commercial and operational leadership in running multibillion-dollar international divisions in the beauty sector.

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He enters Parfums Christian Dior at a time when the beauty industry’s landscape is undergoing seismic shifts on all fronts, due to factors including the rise of digital and the Chinese consumer, plus a deceleration in the makeup and fragrance categories as the skin-care segment accelerates.

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Bernard Arnault, chairman and ceo of LVMH, in the internal statement credited Martinez “for having elevated Parfums Christian Dior to greater heights and successes over all these years.”

“Under his leadership, the brand has embraced modernity and rejuvenation, while respecting heritage and high standards of quality and excellence,” continued Arnault. “We can be proud to see Parfums Christian Dior be positioned now as an undisputed leader in our key markets despite the fast-paced and competitive perfumes and cosmetics environment. I am delighted to welcome Laurent Kleitman, who will pursue the development of Parfums Christian Dior bringing his extensive international experience and modern creative vision to the brand.”

Martinez is to work closely with Kleitman during a transition period of one year, focusing on the brand’s top priorities — the “quest for leadership in all categories of products, digital and omnichannel acceleration, retail evolutions” — according to the statement.

Since 2017, Kleitman has served as president of Coty’s consumer beauty division, based in New York. Between 2015 and 2017, he was executive vice president of global hair care at Unilever.

Kleitman also held the position of ceo of Unilever Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Before that, he spent three years heading LVMH in Russia, including the perfumes and cosmetics business, where he jump-started growth after the 2008 financial crisis. The executive began his career at Unilever in marketing.

Martinez built Dior into the jewel of the crown of LVMH’s fragrance and beauty division, LVMH’s third-largest division that in the nine months ended Sept. 30 generated 4.91 billion euros in sales, up 11 percent on a reported basis and 8 percent in organic terms.

LVMH noted that in the period, Parfums Christian Dior had performed well, especially thanks to its iconic fragrances and the new Joy and Sauvage lines. Color cosmetics and skin care were highlighted as significant areas of growth, too.

Industry sources estimate Parfums Christian Dior now generates annual wholesale revenues upward of 2.5 billion euros, with fragrance ringing up about half; makeup, 30 percent, and skin care, 20 percent of the business.

Among the top markets for the brand are China, the U.S., France, Japan and the U.K. Parfums Christian Dior has been developing its e-commerce and freestanding store channels.

Martinez has long understood the beauty industry’s rapid shape-shifting, telling WWD in an interview marking Dior’s 70th anniversary in 2017, “yesterday’s truth is not tomorrow’s” in beauty.

Under Martinez, Dior ramped up its affiliation with brand ambassadors, which include Natalie Portman, Jennifer Lawrence and Johnny Depp. The house also signed on a new makeup maestro — Peter Philips.

Further, during Martinez’s tenure, Dior hired François Demachy to be the house’s perfumer-creator. The brand has also been investing in patrimony, purchasing its founding designer’s house, the Château de la Colle Noire, for example.