PARIS — Enrique Puig, chairman of the board of Puig Beauty & Fashion Group, died Thursday night in Seville, Spain, of a suspected heart attack while in his hotel room with his wife. Puig, who was 68, had been planning to attend a launch party for the Spanish version of Vanity Fair magazine.
The son of company founder Antonio Puig, Puig was highly regarded in the beauty business and widely credited for the international success of his family’s business. Today, Puig Beauty & Fashion Group is Spain’s largest beauty company, selling to 150 countries. It generated 2007 net revenues of 954 million euros, or $1.37 billion at current exchange.
Puig was the youngest of four brothers. The other three, Antonio, Mariano and José Maria, all survive him, but had passed their company responsibilities to their children.
Carolina Herrera, whose fragrances and fashion are produced by Puig, stated, “Enrique Puig was the public relations genius of the Puig family. He was a great personal friend and a gentleman in everything he did. I am going to miss him.”
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An accomplished sailor, Puig sponsored and participated in the King’s Cup out of Mallorca, Spain, one of the Mediterranean’s most prestigious regattas. He was also President of the Real Club Nautico de Barcelona and the Salon Nautico de Barcelona.
As well as being a well-known public figure — and a close friend of the country’s King Juan Carlos I — Puig was an active member in the beauty industry as president of Stanpa, the Spanish Cosmetics, Toiletry and Perfumery Association. A statement released by the body on Friday read: “In these difficult moments, when you can’t find the right words, we can only share our sorrow over the loss of someone so loved and respected by all.”
“We are deeply sorry and share the grief of family and friends on this loss,” said a spokesman for Inditex, parent company of Zara, whose beauty products are produced by Puig. “Inditex has maintained a long and satisfactory relationship with the Puig Group, whose executives have always demonstrated a very human quality. Enrique Puig was one of them.”
Puig was also previously president of Colipa, the European Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association, from 2001 until 2004.
Annette Green, retired president of the Fragrance Foundation in New York, recalled working with Puig a decade ago. “He was extremely elegant and charming,” she said, noting that “he was very much interested in having the latest computerized technology. He was extraordinary. It was the old world way of doing business.”