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Camille McDonald to Retire From Bath & Body Works

Industry colleagues describe her as a fragrance leader and a pioneer.

Camille McDonald, one of the leading forces in fragrance brand development, plans to retire from Bath & Body Works by the end of this month.

McDonald, 63, has been with the Columbus, Ohio-based division of L Brands Inc. since August 2004, when she joined the company as executive vice president of merchandise and brand development and in 2007 was promoted to president of brand development of Bath & Body Works.

She was unavailable for comment, but those who worked with her, the fragrance suppliers, stepped forward. “Camille and her team redefined the American fragrance landscape over the past decade,” said Jerry Vittoria, president of fine fragrance for North America at Firmenich. “Camille is a true fragrance pioneer. She has great respect for perfumers, and she demands and she gets the very best from them.”

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“She has been defined  in many ways by her commitment to creative standards and high-quality products; wherever she has been, she has elevated the business,” said Felix Mayr-Harting, global head of fine fragrance at Givaudan. Referring to her record at BBW, he said, “she has been at the center of defining how American consumers want to wear great fragrances. What BBW has done over her tenure and over her leadership was to offer to consumers in the U.S. incredibly high-quality fragrances in different formats, whether it is for the home, whether it’s to wear for oneself. She has been part of setting a movement that has defined our industry. You have seen that so clearly in a way that specialty stores have become such an integral part of the beauty business.”

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He added, “on the one hand, she has pursued this kind of vision to elevate the quality of fragrances and at the same time, she has never lost touch with the person who is actually buying it. It would be easy to say I am going to create these sophisticated fragrances for BBW, but they may not be relevant. She finds exactly the right way — to stay relevant.”

During her stint there, Bath & Body Works won the consumer choice award in 2014 from the Fragrance Foundation for A Thousand Wishes, as well as five of the foundation’s FiFi awards earlier in her career.

Prior to her career-capping tenure at Bath & Body Works, McDonald was at LVMH Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, which she joined in 1998 as president and chief executive officer of Givinchy Inc. and Guerlain Inc. During the six years she was at LVMH, McDonald founded American Designer Fragrances, which showcased three designer fragrance houses by Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors and Kenneth Cole. LVMH subsequently sold off all three — Michael Kors to Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. and Jacobs and Cole to Coty Inc. After the Cole license lapsed, it was picked up by Parlux.

She also won awards, the Fragrance Foundation’s Circle of Champions in 2011, the Golden Apple Award of the March of Dimes in 2002 and the American Society of Perfumers Legends Award.

McDonald started the fragrance portion of her career at Charles of the Ritz in 1979, then moved to Revlon International in 1982, then to Cosmair in 1984, where she started as a director, then rose to senior vice president of global markets in the Ralph Lauren fragrance division. There she launched a number of Lauren’s early fragrances. Next stop was Chanel — for a year. She was senior vice president of sales from 1997 to 1998. Then it was LVMH.

Vittoria added, “I’m sure I speak for all perfumers who will greatly miss her and wish her all the best.”