Revlon’s revolving door of chief executive officers continues to churn, and the market thinks that it’s time for chairman Ronald Perelman to draft a heavy-hitter.
Industry executives agree the right move would be to draft a divisional leader from one of the big players in beauty, possibly L’Oréal, Unilever or Coty.
Current ceo Lorenzo Delpani lasted just over two years in the role, saying on Friday that he was stepping down from the position as of March 1 for “personal reasons,” though several executives speculated the resignation was a result of Perelman putting pressure on Delpani. Delpani elaborated on the company’s earnings call Friday, saying his decision was unrelated to the January announcement from Revlon’s majority owner, Perelman-run MacAndrews & Forbes, which basically put the company in play.
“I’m leaving for personal reasons and it has nothing to do with the announcement that MacAndrews & Forbes has made,” he said. “That announcement is a MacAndrews announcement and we won’t comment on that.” Delpani indicated that Revlon would appoint a new ceo “soon,” though he didn’t provide a specific timeline.
“There are lots of question marks right now, which speaks to our developing outlook,” said Moody’s analyst Nancy Meadows. “The outlook right now was not contemplating the departure of the ceo. It was really predicated on the announcement of MacAndrews & Forbes that they’re looking for strategic alternatives.”
Lack of a C-suite (Revlon is also down a chief financial officer) may raise questions about the direction in which future executives could take the company. “Any time you have a change in management there are questions,” Meadows says.
And while Delpani insisted his resignation isn’t tied to the MacAndrews & Forbes announcement, the timing has given industry executives pause, especially given the long-held view that deals don’t get done without executives in place.
“In some ways, the fact that the company needs to replace its ceo and chief financial officer is good, because a buyer can bring in their own team,” said Arash Farin of The Sage Group. “On the other hand, you never know what valuable knowledge the ceo and cfo had regarding the company. So, a buyer may not have the ability to take advantage of all that they know about the company during a process.”
When former Revlon ceo Alan Ennis resigned, another former ceo David Kennedy stepped back into the role. While industry sources say that could be an option again, general consensus deems it unlikely. Kennedy is currently the vice chairman of Revlon’s board and a senior executive vice president at MacAndrews & Forbes.
Delpani’s news was unveiled the same day as Revlon’s improved fourth-quarter and full-year results. Net income for the three months ending Dec. 31 rose to $24.8 million from $2.7 million in the prior-year period, and sales for the quarter rose 9.8 percent to $521.9 million in adjusted for currency effects. Revlon’s full-year sales came in at $1.91 billion, up 4.9 percent when adjusted for currency effects.
In other developments, Accessory Headquarters recently won exclusive licensing rights for Revlon cosmetic bags, which will launch for holiday 2016. Gianni Pieraccioni, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Revlon Consumer, said the company is looking forward to working with AHQ in creating, marketing and distributing worldwide a new line of Revlon cosmetic bags. “AHQ is a company with many years of experience and one with an impeccable reputation. They also have a proven track record of foreseeing market trends in a highly competitive and fast-changing business.”