Tatcha has an entirely new C-suite.
The Japanese-inspired, Unilever-owned skin care brand has hired Mary Yee as chief executive officer, Kylene Campos as chief marketing officer, Nicole Malozi as chief financial officer and Vijay Khare as chief operating officer. Ryan Scott, who has been with Tatcha for seven years, has been promoted to chief people officer and president.
The hires were all made in the second half of 2021, after founder Vicky Tsai returned to the business following the departure of Tatcha’s former CEO, Jean-Marc Plisson.
Tsai started the CEO search in 2021, and said she noticed that the experience she had been hoping to bring to Tatcha was missing from many of the prospective résumés.
“We’ve seen digital transformation sweep other industries before, but not truly beauty yet. I saw how COVID[-19] was finally bringing digital transformation to beauty, and started to realize we need leaders who have a completely different skill set if we want to drive meaningful innovation that’s future fit,” Tsai said.
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She was looking for executives with digital capabilities, but also for “multidimensional” leaders with heart, capable of leading a brand into a future filled with customers who shop with their values in mind, she said.
“As I started the process, I noticed how the vast majority of the résumés I was getting were of a very singular demographic, and the truth is, I didn’t see them having the two criteria that we needed,” Tsai said. In addition to digital expertise and purpose-driven leaders, she wanted someone who could help Tatcha expand in Asia.
“Everybody’s talking about expanding in Asia and China, but because there’s no Asian women in the C-suite, I feel that a lot of the strategies are not being developed from the perspective of the client,” Tsai said. “That’s always a mistake.”
“When we got these résumés that didn’t have digital transformation, not sure if they would be purpose-driven and could not empathize with the Asian female consumer, I didn’t know what to do,” Tsai said.
She said she recalled an article published by WWD Beauty Inc in 2021: “Are Women Moving Up Beauty’s Corporate Ladder.”
“It said that of the top 20 beauty manufacturers, only three, 15 percent, are led by women CEOs, none are women of color,” Tsai recalled. “I found this fact to be disturbing, and also something that the industry really needs to reckon with, so I changed my search criteria.”
Tsai removed a requirement for prospective executives to have beauty C-suite experience, and the résumés poured in, she said.
“The second I took off that requirement, I was flooded with the most amazing résumés I’ve ever seen in my career, an embarrassment of riches,” Tsai said. “I realized that the myth that there’s no pipeline for diverse talent being the excuse for why there’s no diverse talent in the C-suite, it’s a myth. It’s just that if the C-suites are dominated by one demographic, and then you require that experience, you’re only going to get that one demographic,” Tsai said.
Through the process, Tsai found Yee, who joined Tatcha in October after overseeing global marketing at PlayStation. In that role, Yee led marketing for the PlayStation product portfolio, including the digital store, which reaches more than 100 million gamers worldwide.
Campos joined the company as CMO in December after 20 years at P&G, where she worked across a variety of brands. Malozi joined Tatcha in October as CFO after several years at Nike, where she held a variety of positions, including as CFO for the Hong Kong and Taiwan regions. Khare joined the company in July — he was most recently with True Botanicals in operations and supply chain, and before that, was overseeing fulfillment and logistics for The RealReal.
“When they finally joined, I looked around and was like, is this the first fully diverse C-suite in beauty at scale? I’m not sure — but I hope that our experience can show other leaders in boardrooms that the pipeline thing is a myth,” Tsai said.
Tatcha’s entire C-suite is now mostly women and people of color — but that was not necessarily on purpose, Tsai said. “I wish I could say that I started out saying I want to hire a fully diverse C-suite, that wasn’t the intention. I was just looking for the best talent that hit those three criteria, but when we took off the criteria about having beauty experience, the best candidates ended up being diverse,” Tsai said.
These days, Tsai is working with the new team to outline the vision for Tatcha’s future, and is also focused on product development and studying the Japanese rituals the brand has been built around, she said. The brand continues to work on new products, and will be re-entering the body care category later this year.
Tatcha, which was acquired by Unilever in 2019, is now doing around $250 million in sales, according to industry sources. When it was acquired, sales were around $100 million, sources said at the time.
Yee, who said she sees “the cultural relevancy” of Tatcha’s message of healing skin, said she is thinking through ways to bring the company’s service-oriented model more broadly. Right now, most of Tatcha’s business is still in North America, but the brand expanded in Japan last year.
“When you have a brand that is a luxury brand, is high touch, very personal, with a very personal connection with consumers, the challenge will be, how do you scale that with the ambition of growth,” Yee said. “Sometimes companies and brands that want to scale lose that personal touch, and we need to really balance that because that’s at the heart of the brand.”
Tsai said she wants to make sure the brand approaches growth through a customer-centric lens. “What pieces of your collection and what messages can you share with her that are going to make her feel beautiful and complete in her skin?” Tsai said. “That determines your distribution strategy.”
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