Bob DeBaker is headed back to Greek skin-care brand Korres.
DeBaker, who was chief executive officer at the business before heading to Becca Cosmetics in 2011, is returning to Korres as president. In that role, he will be responsible for Korres’ operations around the world.
The goal, according to DeBaker and founder George Korres, is to take Korres from a mostly local business to a global one.
“Our thinking is that we have to understand better what are the opportunities for the brand globally, both in North America and Europe and travel retail, and Bob’s responsibility is to design the future in all aspects,” Korres said. “The only thing that’s going to stay as is, is the way we formulate and the way we produce, the way we work with farmers, but other than that, Bob will have the chance to bring the brand to the next level.”
Korres’ way of working includes encouraging local farmers to grow their businesses and sell Korres ingredients. It’s one of the reasons DeBaker wanted to come back to the brand, he said.
“I love that this brand knows the life cycle of its ingredients,” DeBaker said. According to DeBaker, Korres was one of the first brands to be radically transparent about its ingredients, putting them, and their concentrations, front and center on labels since the early Aughts.
“At that time when we were doing it, it was so fresh — so not what brands were doing — and that’s been the spirit of the brand all along,” DeBaker said. He was previously with Korres for six years, from 2005 through 2011.
“Coming back was the easiest choice ever,” DeBaker said. “For me, it’s not only going home, it’s going back for unfinished business. We were building something so beautiful for North America when I was there, and for a variety of different reasons things had to go different paths.”
These days, Korres is sold primarily through the pharmacy channel in Europe, though it does have exposure to specialty retail and television shopping networks. “As the brand goes and pursues a more global track, we know there are different ways to do business,” DeBaker said, noting that in the coming months distribution and digital strategies will be more firmly in place.
DeBaker has a history of turning around and growing brands. When he joined makeup brand Becca, that was the primary task. He achieved it through cutting stockkeeping units and refocusing the line on complexion, and grew the brand to about $80 million in net sales before it was sold to the Estée Lauder Cos. in 2016.
DeBaker has also worked at YSL Beauté, Clinique, Bobbi Brown, Prescriptives and Chanel.