As the U.S. beauty market continues to struggle, L’Oréal USA is switching up its leadership team.
The business has appointed Stéphane Rinderknech as president and chief executive officer of L’Oréal USA. He succeeds Frédéric Rozé, who has been in the role since 2009, and who will stay on as executive vice president, Americas.
The shift comes as L’Oréal — and other beauty companies — face continued turmoil in the U.S. market. On the prestige end, things have slowed down, particularly in makeup. In July, Jean-Paul Agon, the chairman and ceo of L’Oréal characterized makeup as “flat in the U.S. at best.” In contrast, China — the region Rinderknech headed most recently — has been doing well across the beauty board.
Sentiments surrounding a U.S. slowdown have been echoed by other beauty companies, including the Estee Lauder Cos., which posted a 5 percent dip in sales in the Americas region for its fiscal year. Even Ulta Beauty, the U.S.-based specialty retail darling, acknowledged the slowdown and predicted continued challenges in makeup, specifically.
“After several years of very strong performance, growth in the makeup category has been decelerating over the last two years, but recently turned negative,” Ulta ceo Mary Dillon told Wall Street analysts in August. “We see that most of the top brands across both mass and prestige are negative year-to-date.”
Nielsen data reported by Jefferies analyst Stephanie Wissink showed declines across Nyx and Maybelline in mass, with L’Oréal Paris up 1 percent, for the year ended Aug. 24. Industry sources have also said that some of L’Oréal’s acquired prestige brands — like Urban Decay — have struggled in the U.S. makeup slowdown, as well. It Cosmetics, which L’Oréal acquired in 2016 for $1.2 billion also unveiled plans for its very visible founder, Jamie Kern Lima — known for her engaging QVC appearances that drove sales — to depart this fall.
L’Oréal has also hosted a series of other executive moves, including the reorganization of its Luxe division in the U.S. Under that shift, YSL Beaute, Giorgio Armani Beauty and Designer Fragrances were broken out into their own divisions, each with its own respective head. Xavier Vey, who was head of Luxe for the U.S., was also replaced by Megan Grant earlier this year. Vey is now general manager of Western Europe for Luxe.
Rinderknech, who will report to Rozé in the new role, joined L’Oréal as part of the travel retail business in the U.S. in 2001. He was appointed general manager for Lancôme in Japan in 2005, and later moved to be general manager for Luxury in Korea. After that, he became head of L’Oréal China’s Luxury Division and then the company’s Consumer Products Division, before being appointed chief executive officer of L’Oréal China in 2016.
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