NEW YORK — Steve Lubin, 62, is stepping down from his post as divisional vice president and general manager of marketing for non-mainland operations at Walgreen Co. Lubin, who helped burnish the drug chain’s beauty reputation, has been with Walgreens for 43 years — starting as a stockman.
This story first appeared in the November 14, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
A few eyebrows were raised in the late Eighties when Lubin moved from toys to beauty — two very different categories. But he was a quick study — becoming one of the most respected beauty merchants in the industry while spearheading some of Walgreens’ biggest growth in the category.
His keen eye helped spot emerging companies, particularly Mirage Sinful Colors, which was acquired by Revlon in 2011. According to Chris Chon, Mirage’s then president, Lubin spotted Sinful at a trade show and gave the brand its first start in mass market retailing. He is also credited with seeing a market need for affordable fragrances that sparked the body mist craze. Recently, he helped launch a line called In-2 Beauty sold exclusively at Puerto Rico stores for specific skin-care needs based on the weather on the island.
Lubin was a staunch supporter of maintaining high levels of service in cosmetics through beauty advisers — even as many chains exited service. Vendors said his experience in the stores gave him a unique vision into what Walgreens’ consumers wanted.
That knowledge proved useful in 2004, when Lubin was named general manager of marketing for stores in Puerto Rico. Walgreens’ Puerto Rico sites are known for expansive beauty departments, especially upscale fragrances. After fortifying Walgreens’ business in Puerto Rico, Lubin set his sights on Alaska and Hawaii when he was promoted to divisional vice president and general manager of marketing for non-mainland operations in 2008.
“Steve’s contributions to Walgreens’ success over more than four decades are significant, from the increasing responsibility he held in our merchandising organization to the three years he spent overseeing marketing in Puerto Rico,” said divisional vice president of corporate communications Michael Polzin. “That experience positioned him well to help ensure our successful entries into other non-mainland markets, including Hawaii, Alaska and the U.S. Virgin Islands. We greatly appreciate the work Steve has done for us in these markets and throughout his career and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
Lubin joined the company as a stockman 1970 while still in college. He worked his way up to assistant store manager before managing a handful of units in the area and then achieving a spot in the home office in 1980.