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Louis Desazars Said to Have Exited Shiseido

He had served as president and chief executive officer of Shiseido Group EMEA since Sept. 1, 2015.

PARIS — A big change is afoot at Shiseido, WWD has learned. Louis Desazars, president and chief executive officer of Shiseido Group EMEA, has exited the company, according to industry sources.

Desazars reportedly sent a note to colleagues on Monday saying that he would leave the group that day. The news came unexpectedly, the sources said.

Desazars had taken up the newly created role, which includes the oversight of Shiseido’s skin care, makeup and fragrance businesses in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region on Sept. 1, 2015. Prior to that, the executive served as president and ceo of Nars Cosmetics, also part of Shiseido’s portfolio, starting in 2008.

It is believed Eric Henry, chief business officer of the EMEA region at Shiseido, has succeeded Desazars for at least an interim period.

A Shiseido spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

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The president and ceo role of Shiseido Group EMEA position was formed as part of the company’s strategy dubbed Vision 2020. That includes a regional headquarters system in six areas to allow accelerated decision-making and product development in each zone. Desazars was charged with achieving substantial brand acceleration in all categories and growing new markets in Africa and the Middle East.

During a press conference in Paris on Oct. 7, 2016, Shiseido executives said the group aimed to expand its share in the global fragrance market to 9 percent by 2020, up from 5.8 percent at the time.

Desazars said then that acquiring the license for the Dolce & Gabbana fragrance and beauty business — under his purview — on Oct. 1, 2016, more than doubled Shiseido’s part of the global perfume market from 2.2 percent to 5.8 percent. Shiseido intended to turn that D&G activity into a 1 billion euro business within 10 years.

At that conference, as well, it was announced that Beauté Prestige International, Shiseido’s fragrance division, which also includes perfume brands such as Issey Miyake, Elie Saab, Narciso Rodriguez, Azzedine Alaïa and Zadig & Voltaire, would become part of Shiseido Group EMEA from Jan. 1, 2017. In that geographic zone, the company set out to increase its share of the prestige beauty market from eighth place to match its global fifth-place ranking. Growth was expected to be driven by the expansion of brands that had been underpenetrated in Europe, including Laura Mercier, Nars and Bare Escentuals, plus expansion in Africa.

In July, Shiseido launched Waso, a skin-care range targeting Millennials. While the line’s introduction was global, it has had a major push in Europe — Shiseido’s largest zone sales-wise overall. (At the time in Italy and Germany, Shiseido was the number-one premium women’s skin-care brand, while in Spain it was ranked sixth and France, ninth.)

Over the past two years in the skin-care category in the region, Shiseido refocused on some key franchises in order to build brand awareness and bring across more clearly what it stands for. Emphasizing the label’s Japanese heritage, Shiseido, for instance, developed regional campaigns in Europe for the Bio-Performance and Ultimune lines.

It’s been a strong year business-wise for parent company Shiseido Co. Ltd. on Wednesday, the group revised upward its financial forecast for the year ending Dec. 31, saying both net sales and operating income should exceed previous guidance and reach record highs, as reported.