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A Change in the Guard at ZO Skin Health as CEO Jim Headley Retires

New chief executive officer and president Mark Williams will guide the professional skin-care company's next phase of growth.

Jim Headley, who has helmed ZO Skin Health Inc. for five years as president and chief executive officer, is retiring and board member Mark Williams will assume the role.

During Headley’s tenure, the Irvine, Calif.-based professional skin-care company founded by dermatologist Zein Obagi in 2007 registered a compound annual growth rate of 68 percent and hit roughly $60 million in annual sales. As he steps down, Headley is handing the reigns to Williams to solidify and expand upon ZO Skin Health’s leading position inside physicians’ offices.

“He has very strong business acumen, and he’s been associated with the company in one way or another for over seven years, so he understands where we are going. He understands Dr. Obagi’s philosophy and the importance of quality products,” Headley said. “We are on our way to [generating] a couple hundred million dollars by 2020 or 2021. Mark will help transition the company from a smaller to a larger company, and he brings the expertise to operate a larger company. Plus, he’s a good listener.”

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Williams’ connection with ZO Skin Health dates back to its beginnings when he operated as outside counsel and, since that time, he’s acted as a business and legal consultant to the company. Outside of his work with ZO Skin Health, Williams concentrated his law practice largely on the health-care and pharmaceutical segments, and served on the boards of several firms to supply financial and strategic guidance. He joined ZO Skin Health’s board earlier this year.

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Williams outlined three goals for his early stewardship of ZO Skin Health: shoring up the company’s relationships with doctors, priming a pipeline of innovative products and combating consumer skepticism about the effectiveness of skin-care remedies. ZO Skin Health’s products — which range from $29 to $170 — are available in 106 countries at 7,500 physicians’ offices and five ZO Skin Centre locations.

ZO Skin Health will turn to digital platforms to disseminate messages centering on the advantages of skin-care products offered by physicians. “There is a group of consumers that don’t want to pay a physician for skin-care products. We need to teach that there are products at physicians’ offices that treat your skin, not just mask a skin disorder,” Williams said. “We have the opportunity to reach out to those consumers and say, ‘You need to see a physician to get treatment. Don’t just go to the store, buy a product and slap it on your skin.’”

ZO Skin Health’s product range consists of 57 products across two main lines. Its bestseller is the lightweight lotion Ossential Daily Power Defense. Next year, the brand will launch a product targeting rosacea sufferers. “I really want to make sure the company is focused on continuing to develop high-quality products that solve or help treat skin conditions and provide people with the ability to maintain healthy skin into the future,” Williams said.

While U.S. professional skin-care sales rose 7 percent last year, according to data from the research firm Kline & Co. cited by Williams, he believes the segment could be performing even better if more medical offices were privy to proper training on and education about skin-care products. “We are going out there and talking to physicians. We are not just trying to put products in their offices. We are trying to help them help their patients,” he said. “They are happy with the mutual respect between physicians and this brand that may not be happening with other consumer products companies.”