PARIS — Changes are afoot at Clarins Fragrance Group.

This story first appeared in the July 9, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Joël Palix, president of the Groupe Clarins fragrance division — with brands such as Thierry Mugler, Azzaro and Swarovski — will be leaving, the company said Monday.

He is to progressively hand his responsibilities over to Sandrine Groslier, currently managing director of Clarins Fragrance Group France.

According to an industry source, Virginie Courtin-Clarins, the granddaughter of Clarins founder Jacques Courtin-Clarins, will be joining Groslier to help with the Thierry Mugler fashion business, which Palix has overseen as the label’s director-general. (Virginie Courtin-Clarins formerly spent time working in Printemps department store’s fashion department.)

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Palix has been with Clarins for 11 years.

“A new professional project awaits me,” he wrote in an e-mail sent out moments after his departure was revealed by Clarins. Palix divulged no further details of his next step.

The company lauded him for having driven two Mugler fragrances — Angel and Alien — to worldwide success.

Since 2009, sales of the 21-year-old Angel have grown 30 percent. It’s estimated that Angel, which was originally launched by Vera Strubi, now ranks among the top 10 women’s prestige scents worldwide.

And the business of Alien, which was introduced in 2005, keeps going from strength to strength; today it rings up 80 percent of Angel’s total revenues.

Clarins said Palix has “given a whole new life to the Azzaro brand through the development of Chrome and Azzaro pour Homme” as well.

His departure comes at a turning point for Thierry Mugler.

In April, Palix revealed he was looking for a full-time creative director to oversee both the label’s fashion and fragrance divisions. Earlier that month, superstylist Nicola Formichetti exited the brand after two years in the job to join Diesel as artistic director. Sébastien Peigné and Romain Kremer, Mugler head designers for women’s and men’s wear, respectively, left the house too.

Meanwhile, the Thierry Mugler studio continues developing the brand’s fashion, which did not show during the men’s wear collections in June.

According to industry source estimates, Mugler overall generates $800 million in retail sales annually, with 90 percent to 95 percent stemming from fragrance and the rest split between ready-to-wear and accessories.

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