Jean-André Rougeot has been named chief executive officer of Sephora Americas, nabbing one of beauty’s most high-profile positions.
Rougeot, the ceo of Benefit Cosmetics for 12 years, will take the helm Feb. 4 and report to Sephora’s global president and ceo Christopher de Lapuente. He succeeds Calvin McDonald, who left Sephora in July to become chief of Lululemon Athletica. Sephora and Benefit are owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
Rougeot’s appointment comes at a time when Sephora is looking to solidify its position as the top beauty specialty retailer in the U.S. amid an increasingly competitive landscape. The NPD Group reports that sales in the prestige market overall were up 8 percent for the period between December 2017 and November 2018, but color cosmetics, a key category for Sephora, showed signs of softening throughout the year, with growth slowing to single digits. Meanwhile, competitors like Ulta Beauty are surging, and emerging concepts, like Beautycon, are expanding.
Rougeot is no stranger to exponential growth. During his tenure, Benefit’s sales are said to have exploded past the $1.5 billion mark, and the brand has expanded globally (in close alliance with Sephora), with more than half of its sales coming from outside the U.S. Under Rougeot, Benefit has led the charge in incorporating brow services into its retail presence, and its influencer programs are among the industry’s most effective.
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“Jean-André’s extensive leadership track record, breadth of knowledge of the North American prestige beauty and retail marketplace, as well as a Sephora brand partner for more than a decade, set him up to lead our teams to continue fueling our 20 year North America success story,” said de Lapuente in an exclusive statement to WWD.
Rougeot has experience on the brand and retail sides of the business. Before moving to Benefit, he was chairman and ceo of Diam International, a global retail merchandising services provider, and he was also ceo of The Boyds Collection and president and ceo of the Coty Division of Coty Inc. from 1993 to 1999.
“I’m very excited to join Sephora and look forward to working with the team to build on the success of this iconic omni-retail brand,” said the executive. “Together, we will continue strengthening Sephora’s brand partnerships, innovating and delighting clients with the best experience and assortment of prestige beauty products, whether they are shopping in our stores or across our outstanding digital platforms.”
Rougeot’s mandate will include defending Sephora’s position as the prestige beauty leader in the U.S. and Canada, and growing the business in Mexico and Brazil. McDonald led the retailer through the digital revolution and implemented of initiatives like the Sephora Innovation Lab and Sephora Studios. Since his departure last year there has been speculation about who would be named to lead the next phase of the retailer’s growth. A source close to the company said Rougeot “stood out as the most qualified candidate best fit for our organization, with his long and consistent track record as a dynamic leader and in-touch, inspirational ceo and brand builder.”
A successor for Rougeot at Benefit has not yet been named.