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Coty’s Camillo Pane on Culture, Cover Girl and Diversity

In a conversation hosted by the CEW, Coty Inc.’s chief executive officer discussed the company’s next steps after its merger with P&G.

After a buzzy 24 months following the announcement of Coty Inc.’s merger with Procter & Gamble Co.’s specialty beauty business, Coty Inc.’s chief executive officer Camillo Pane has been shaping his vision for the future of the beauty company.

Hosted by the CEW, Pane sat down with WWD executive beauty editor Jenny B. Fine at the Harmonie Club Thursday evening to talk culture, Cover Girl’s revamp and diversity within the company.

In shaping his vision for the company’s future, Pane keeps three things in mind: mission, purpose and culture. “Our mission we have declared is over time to become a global leader in beauty, but the second part of this mission is the element of being a challenger,” he said. “I believe that we have a role to play in the beauty industry. We come from a different angle. We can think outside of the box and think of how to bring different solutions to our consumers to delight them.”

On purpose, Pane looked at the portfolio of brands and saw an opportunity to make a difference with consumers. “We chose the purpose of celebrating and liberating the diversity of your beauty,” he said. “This is about being who you want to be and we wanted to empower this. We want to make sure that we live this every day and the concept of diversity and authenticity are core to this purpose.”

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This purpose also stems from Pane’s focus on company culture. “One of the values we have [at Coty] is own it and drive it,” he said. “If we all behave like owners, having that feeling of responsibility and accountability like if this was really our own business, I think that we will bring this business to success.”

Even though the company is broken up into three main headquarters and three divisions, Pane emphasized the overall company culture has been able to drive successful integration of the new brands.

“Having this challenger mentality is in my opinion one of the best elements of our culture that is attracting talent from the outside but also motivating people who work with us,” he said. “It’s an environment where you can challenge, bring your own ideas and be the owner of those ideas. We definitely try to have an environment where we can have this conversation where there is no fear or failure.”

Pane then went on to talk about one of the company’s biggest initiatives since the merger: the revamp of Cover Girl.

“There has not been a lot of changes on [Cover Girl] since its inception and when we took over a year ago I think we were facing the task of looking at the brand from a performance point of view, but also trying to understand if the emotional connection with consumers was still there,” he said. “We had this amazing slogan that had been relevant for many years and a lot of people might have decided that it was a sacred cow that couldn’t be touched, but for us I think what is important is to truly connect emotionally with consumers.”

The revamp, which introduced the new slogan “I Am What I Make Up,” is meant to appeal to young consumers to embrace diversity, authenticity and individuality.

“It’s anchored in a fundamental truth, which is you can be who you want to be,” he said. “I think this is much more profound and relevant with the world now.”

Pane ended the talk speaking about diversity within the company. “We put [diversity] at the core of the purpose, so it’s a choice that we’ve made because we want to be driven in the future and inspired by our purpose,” he said. “In the business environment, we’re all going to be better individuals and better professionals if we are surrounded by people who are different from us because they will bring us a better point of view.”