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WWD Beauty Inc Awards: Stéphane de la Faverie, Ukonwa Ojo Win Brand Builder of the Year

The Estée Lauder and Coty executives are being honored for growing their respective brands.

Prestige: Stéphane de la Faverie, global brand president, Estée Lauder

During his quarterly earnings calls, Fabrizio Freda, chief executive officer of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., likes to ask a key executive from the company to address analysts. When it came time for the fourth-quarter call, Stéphane de La Faverie, global brand president of the flagship Estée Lauder brand, was tapped for the honor. And no wonder. Under his stewardship, the business has soared, posting 22 percent growth for the company’s full fiscal year 2018. While sales in China are booming, so is the U.S., reportedly up 9-plus percent and adding more than 1 million new consumers who are younger, more diverse and more affluent than its existing customer base. Driving that growth is de La Faverie’s dexterity at digital marketing: L2 ranks Lauder in the top 10 in its 2018 Genius rankings in the U.S., and number one in China. In terms of products, the focus has been on hero franchises like Advanced Night Repair and Double Wear Foundation. In a landscape where “legacy” can be a liability, de La Faverie is powering Lauder to out
of this world results.

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Mass Market: Ukonwa Ojo, global chief marketing officer, Covergirl and Sally Hansen

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Coty’s Ukonwa Ojo isn’t afraid of a challenge. Tasked with modernizing the struggling CoverGirl after its divestment from Procter & Gamble, Ojo dove in head first, opting for a massive revamp touching all aspects of the brand, from its tag line to product development to the brand’s ambassadors. First up was a new set of CoverGirls, selected to reflect a more diverse consumer base—including “Insecure” creator and actress Issa Rae, race car driver Massy Arias and 70-year-old model Maye Musk. Cover Girl’s signature “Easy, Breezy, Beautiful” tag line was shelved in favor of the inclusivity-promoting “I am What I Makeup.” Outer packaging has a sleek new vibe, while products are being produced quicker and created with the beauty junkie in mind—Ojo’s team scours social media for trends such as scented eye shadows. Even retail is being rethought, with the brand opening a Times Square flagship on Black Friday. While Coty’s consumer division continues to struggle and overall sales have yet to move significantly, there have been some incremental early wins: CoverGirl’s Outlast Lipstick sales are up 8 percent, and eyebrow makeup is up 15 percent. Ojo is winning, too. In July, she was promoted to global chief marketing officer overseeing both CoverGirl and Sally Hansen, another challenged legacy brand
in the struggling mass market.