PARIS — Sephora has named Guillaume Motte as its new president and chief executive officer, effective Jan. 1.
Motte — a seasoned retail executive who recently worked at Sephora — will succeed and report to Chris de Lapuente, according to an internal memo obtained by WWD.
Concurrently, de Lapuente continues to serve as chairman and CEO of the Selective Retailing division at Sephora’s parent company, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
Motte’s appointment comes at a critical moment for Sephora, the only prestige beauty retailer with a global presence, as it expands geographically and competes head-on with rising, increasingly omnichannel players.
He takes the reins as Sephora is winning in markets such as the European Union, vying with arch-rival Ulta in the uber-competitive U.S. and re-entering the U.K., first by rebranding feelunique.com into sephora.co.uk. Meanwhile, Sephora’s online business is being built in China, with the store model being tweaked there.
In terms of sales, Sephora has returned to its 2019 activity level, and industry sources estimate that its revenues this year will surpass the 10-billion-euro mark.
Motte most recently has been deputy CEO of LVMH Fashion Group, a position he assumed in May 2021 in what was then a newly created role in which he reports to Sidney Toledano, chairman and CEO of the fashion branch. It has a stable of brands including Celine, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Kenzo, Loewe, Emilio Pucci, Patou and Rossimoda.
Prior to that, Motte served as president of Sephora Europe and Middle East, beginning March 2018. In that position, the executive has been credited with accelerating the retailer’s omnichannel reach and strong brand-building, with the likes of its inclusive campaign, dubbed The Unlimited Power of Beauty.
Motte steered Sephora back into Germany after a 16-year hiatus, and inaugurated a new flagship there that was at the time touted as a next-generation store.
Before joining Sephora, he was CEO of French menswear chain Celio for three years. He also ran French women’s ready-to-wear brand Jennyfer for more than six years, and held positions at other companies, including Al Tayer Trends, FNAC and McKinsey & Co.
He is a graduate of École Centrale Paris with a degree in engineering, and holds a master’s degree in economics from Cambridge University and an MBA from French business school Insead.
In the internal announcement, de Lapuente welcomed Motte back to Sephora.
“His experiences over the past two years in LVMH Fashion Group, alongside Sidney Toledano, have broadened his prestige brand-building expertise and deepened his already extensive retail and business skills at a global level,” de Lapuente said. “Guillaume is an inspiring and much-admired leader who has always personified Sephora’s unique passion and culture.
“Guillaume has the wonderful balance of being strong on retail execution and yet strategic and forward-thinking in his outlook,” de Lapuente continued. “He has deep understanding of all the elements that make Sephora the world’s best loved beauty community. I have no doubt he will continue to build Sephora into the extraordinary premium beauty retailer we envision. I am extremely happy that we will be working together again.”