PARIS — Speculation is rife here that Lindsay Owen-Jones will step down from his role as L’Oréal chairman on March 17 — his 65th birthday — and pass the reins to Jean-Paul Agon, the company’s chief executive officer. A L’Oréal spokeswoman had no comment on Sunday.

This story first appeared in the February 7, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

It was reported by Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper that the changeover will be approved during a L’Oréal board meeting due to be held on Thursday, the same day the company publishes its annual results. The executive change would come earlier than expected; in April 2010, Owen-Jones’ tenure as chairman had been renewed until 2014. After March 17, it is believed Owen-Jones will be L’Oréal’s honorary chairman.

Agon became ceo in April 2006. Prior to that, Owen-Jones had held the position of L’Oréal chairman and ceo for 18 years.

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