Byline: Sarah Raper

BARCELONA — A new generation is taking over at Puig, Spain’s biggest fashion and cosmetics company.
Mariano Puig Sr., the chief executive who has run the family-owned business for more than three decades, is stepping down, along with his three brothers, Antonio, Jose Maria and Enrique.
Puig, the owner of Paco Rabanne and Nina Ricci, will be headed by a team of four executives: Mariano Puig Jr.; his brother, Marc; their cousin Manuel Puig, and Javier Cano, who is not a family member.
The Puig companies have long been a source of interest within the beauty industry. One reason is their innovative marketing, especially with Paco Rabanne. Another is that it is one of the few family-held companies remaining in the luxury goods field.
In an emotional farewell speech, Mariano Puig Sr. — whose father, Antonio, founded the company — told 180 group executives, business partners, family members and shareholders here this week that he and his brothers would be stepping down immediately and that a “leadership team” would take over.
“Our competitors just five years ago were family companies and had the names of their founders on the door, but walls disappear, markets evolve,” said Puig.
“Only 15 percent of companies survive the transition from the second to the third generation. We are an entrepreneurial people. We are a family company, and this change is everything but an improvisation.”
Of the new leadership, Mariano Puig Jr. is president of Rabanne and Ricci.
Marc Puig oversees the group’s North American activities as well as the Carolina Herrera fashion house, where the company has a majority stake.
Manuel Puig is in charge of international distribution, and Cano oversees Spanish activities.
None of the faces is new, but some observers were surprised at the family’s decision to stick with a team structure rather than choosing a single chairman from the third generation.
Puig executives said their choice was based on tradition — the company previously has been run by teams — and a recognition of the complexity of managing an international company, which demands diverse skills.
The four Puig brothers who are stepping down will still have roles as members of an administrative board.
The transfer of power was announced at a two-day conference called for that purpose. Among those attending were designers Paco Rabanne, Carolina Herrera and the Seville fashion duo of Victorio & Lucchino, whose fashion and fragrance businesses are backed by the Puig family.
At the conference, executives unveiled a holding arrangement designed to insure that the family — there are 14 descendants in the third generation — maintains control of Puig. And the new team outlined an ambitious plan to take Puig from a group of companies with current combined sales of $750 million in fragrance and fashion to one that will do $1.3 billion by the year 2006.
The new management team said investment in the group’s fashion brands was a key part of that strategy, as were new fragrance licenses.
In the mass market, the company said it was committed to maintaining its leadership in Spain in categories like fragrance, with the classic Agua Brava and launch of Diavolo by Antonio Banderas, and shower gels, including Thais and Heno de Pravia, and it would beef up expansion in Latin America.