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Farouk Shami Returns as CEO of Farouk Systems

He aims to keep the professional hair tools company number one in its segment.

Farouk Shami is back atop the company that bears his name.

After three years of quasi-retirement, during which he manned Farouk Systems’ overseas operations, Shami has returned as chief executive officer and chairman to cultivate innovation, and broaden the professional hair tools specialist’s product and geographic scope. Shami steps into the ceo post previously held by his son, Basim Shami.

“I just can’t get away,” said Shami. “I love making sure hairdressers are making more money with innovative and safer products. I think we are the only company that can help hairdressers achieve that.”

Shami asserted he takes over with Houston-based Farouk Systems on solid footing. Although Shami wouldn’t disclose the company’s revenues, news reports have pegged them at $1 billion, and he touted Farouk Systems as number-one in its market segment. This year, he anticipates its sales to climb 20 percent.

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“When you are number one, the main challenge is how do you stay up there? How do we stay innovative and really bring something better?” said Shami. “I want to be number one for the next 30 to 40 years, not just today.”

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To build a pipeline of breakthrough products, Farouk Systems has pursued a strategy of securing deals with key partners to set up factories. Over the next year, a factory will open up in South Korea in partnership with LG and another one will open in Egypt in partnership with the Hashem Brothers. Farouk Systems owns 60 percent of the South Korean factory and 50 percent of the Egyptian factory.

Farouk Systems has already been pushing beyond its core competency in professional hair tools. It’s spearheaded a move into men’s hair care with a line under a license with the magazine Esquire that contains three-in-one shampoo, conditioner and body wash, grooming spray, gel, wax, shampoo and conditioner. And Farouk Systems pressed into the mass market with Kardashian Beauty, its licensed hair-care brand that launched last year at Target and Ulta Beauty, among many retailers.

Shami said Farouk System’s sales are split about evenly between tools and liquid hair-care products. Chi is the company’s largest brand and Biosilk comes in second. Chi recently stretched its assortment into liquid hair color with Ionic Color Shine Shades, which Shami predicted will lead the U.S. professional hair-color sector in a year, and Shami pointed to skin care and nail as categories Chi will enter soon. “The skin care is going to be antiaging, and it will be a really new system focused on new ingredients. The nail polish can last two to three months longer than regular nail polish,” he detailed.

Farouk Systems’ reach extends to 144 countries. Shami estimated international sales account for roughly 30 percent of its business. He hopes to bring that figure to 50 percent, and pointed out that South America and Europe are regions where Farouk Systems is growing its workforce. Shami said, “We are in a healthy position. We have always been debt-free and have never borrowed from a bank. The company is moving up and expanding.”