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Gala Honors Sephora’s David Suliteanu

There was a cheeky charm in Sephora prez and ceo David Suliteanu's acceptance speech at the Skin Sense Awards.

Given the fact the point of the evening was skin cancer prevention, there was a certain cheeky charm in David Suliteanu’s acceptance speech at the Skin Sense Awards, held Tuesday evening at the Pierre Hotel.

Suliteanu, president and chief executive officer of Sephora USA, led the group of 450 beauty executives in singing the Beatles’ classic “Here Comes the Sun.” As happy as the song sounds, he pointed out that the coming of the sun is not good news when it comes to skin cancer.

“This is borderline crazy in a crowd like this, but if I get good participation I’ll write a personal check to the Skin Cancer Foundation,” he promised. The crowd complied, and Suliteanu later lived up to that vow. The evening raised close to $900,000 for the cause.

Suliteanu was honored alongside beauty expert Lois Joy Johnson, the former fashion and beauty director of More magazine. He noted that he is particularly proud of Sephora’s Sun Safety Kit, a $25 sampler of 11 sunscreens sold in Sephora doors. The brainstorm of Adrienne Davis, brand marketing manager of skin care at Sephora, the kit raised $171,000 in its initial outing in 2007 and has already raised $358,000 in 2008, with all proceeds benefiting the Skin Cancer Foundation. A 2009 edition is in development, noted Davis.

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To her credit, the evening’s host, Rosanna Arquette, was quite adept in getting the notoriously chatty beauty industry to quiet down. As the crowd continued to talk as she attempted to welcome Jonathan Levine, co-founder of GoSmile, to the stage to introduce Suliteanu, she leaned into the microphone and said with a laugh, “OK, everyone, shut up! I know these things are boring,” as the crowd roared and then quieted. She also noted that she no longer tans: “If I need to be tan for work, it’s completely fake,” she said.

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Singer-songwriter Jon McLaughlin entertained the crowd with hits from his debut album, “Indiana,” and his upcoming album, “OK Now,” which is due out Oct. 8. “I’ve never seen such a well-behaved crowd,” he quipped in response to Arquette’s admonition.