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Sally Beauty Appoints First Female CEO

Denise Paulonis has been appointed CEO, becoming one of few women leading a publicly traded company.

Sally Beauty Holdings has appointed a new president and chief executive officer: Denise Paulonis.

With the move, Paulonis becomes one of few women leading a publicly traded company — and the first woman CEO for Sally Beauty.

Denise Paulonis Sally Beauty
Denise Paulonis, CEO of Sally Beauty. courtesy of Sally Beauty

She succeeds Chris Brickman, who will step down Sept. 30.

Paulonis has been on Sally’s board since 2018. She was most recently chief financial officer for Sprouts Farmers Market. She also has held several executive roles at The Michaels Cos., including executive vice president and CFO. Before that, Paulonis held roles at PepsiCo., McKinsey & Co. and Bank of America.

“As a current board member, I know firsthand what a driven team this is, and I could not be more excited to hit the ground running,” Paulonis said in a statement. “We have an amazing opportunity to propel the company into its next chapter, solidifying our place as a leading beauty provider and moving forward as a dynamic, modern, inclusive and profitable business.”

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Robert McMaster, the chair of Sally Beauty, said that now is the right time for a leadership transition give Sally Beauty’s progress in turning around the business. “During Chris’ tenure, the company ushered in many new initiatives, including strengthening Sally Beauty Holdings’ standing as the largest omnichannel hair color retailer, introducing modernized loyalty programs, investing significantly in technology and improving our digital capabilities and leading the company through the pandemic,” McMaster said in a statement.

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For the quarter ended June 30, Sally posted a 45 percent uptick in net sales, to more than $1 billion, with net earnings of $76 million, compared to a loss in the 2020 quarter, during the pandemic.

He said Paulonis’ appointment was made “to ensure that Sally Beauty Holdings is best positioned to continue its momentum.”

“We unanimously believe Denise is the right leader to drive the next stage of the company’s growth,” he added. “We believe Denise will provide fresh perspectives and valuable insights in order to take our brands and our company into the future.”

With the appointment, Paulonis becomes one of a handful of women CEOs leading a publicly traded beauty business.

There’s also Roz Brewer, who was appointed Walgreens CEO earlier this year, and Sue Nabi at Coty Inc., as well as Linda Rendle at Clorox.



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