After a trio of acquisitions in recent years, Revlon Inc. is emerging as a new company with a new leader at the top.
Ronald Perelman, the beauty firm’s chairman and owner who is also chairman and chief executive officer of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., has once again made a swift change in management, replacing Alan Ennis with his predecessor, David Kennedy, who will serve as the vice chairman and interim ceo. Revlon expects to name a successor “in the near term.”
The change comes on the heels of Revlon’s plans to acquire The Colomer Group for $660 million from private equity firm CVC Capital Partners. The deal, which brings professional brands such as CND nail polish and American Crew hair care to the fold, is expected to close later this month.
It also comes nearly five months after Procter & Gamble Co. abruptly ousted Bob McDonald from the c-suite and called in his predecessor, A.G. Lafley, to return to the role of chairman, president and ceo.
Kennedy told WWD, “It’s an exciting time for the company. We are about to close the acquisition of The Colomer Group, which means we will have access to [both the mass and professional] channels. We will have a company with a broader scope. Colomer will immediately strengthen our international business in Europe and our professional business around the world.”
He said the integration of Colomer requires a certain skill set from an incoming ceo.
Kennedy told WWD that the company is looking for a candidate “who is able to manage this significant change with the Colomer acquisition — perhaps someone who has done it before” as well as someone who can identify and understand geographical opportunities. “We will be looking for an experienced, seasoned executive with a broad range of skills. Someone who is an effective leader and proven by the results that they delivered in the past,” he continued.
“We have multiple opportunities. All the brands are healthy and we have access to the professional channel,” said Kennedy. “This company has never been in a better position.”
Kennedy began his first stint as ceo at Revlon — a position he held from 2006 to 2009 — during a tumultuous time for the company in which sales and retail space were declining. He took the reins from Jack Stahl, who after a four-year run, was ousted along with much of his management team after what Perelman saw as a series of strategic missteps.
During his tenure, Kennedy succeeded in restoring order to Revlon by completing a three-year turnaround plan before assuming the role of the company’s vice chairman and senior executive vice president of MacAndrews & Forbes, clearing the way for Ennis to become ceo.
Ennis previously held the role of executive vice president and chief financial officer, and prior to that, was president of Revlon International. He joined Revlon in 2005 as senior vice president of internal audit.
Ennis may have been a “numbers guy,” but he took a keen interest in the product and marketing side of the business.
Early on in his four-year tenure, Ennis recruited former Coca-Cola executive Julia Goldin to the role of executive vice president, chief marketing officer to dial up and sharpen Revlon’s advertising strategy. With Goldin charged with returning Revlon to its storied heritage, Ennis focused on his often-repeated mantra of “growing profitability,” which he said was achievable through a two-pronged approach of organic sales gains and acquisitions.
Ennis, who was known for his energy and quick Irish wit, revived Revlon’s appetite for acquisitions. During the last two years, Revlon got aggressive on the buying front, acquiring two nail-care brands, Sinful Cosmetics and Pure Ice, and then making a bold move deeper into the professional salon market with Colomer.
Perelman seemed to like the team. He told WWD in May 2012, “It was only until I put David Kennedy in as ceo that he brought real order and discipline and focus and allowed us to proceed with what we’re good at in manufacturing and developing product. And then we brought in a very good marketing person, Julia Goldin, who’s fabulous, and Alan Ennis is doing a very, very good job.”