ARDEN, KLEIN, LANCOME
EXEC MAKEOVER FOR THREE KEY COSMETICS FIRMS
Byline: PETE BORN
NEW YORK — There has been a seismic shift in beauty’s power structure, with new bosses being put in charge of three major cosmetics companies: Elizabeth Arden Co., Calvin Klein Cosmetics and Lancome USA.
Kim Delsing, who will move from Calvin Klein to become president and chief executive officer of Arden and chairman of the Unilever Prestige Personal Products division in the U.S..
Paulanne Mancuso, who will succeed Delsing at Calvin Klein.
Philip A. Shearer, who was named general manager of the Lancome division of
In moving from Calvin Klein to Arden, a sister Unilever division, the 43-year-old Delsing will succeed Robert M. Phillips, who was recently named worldwide director of Unilever’s entire personal-products business. Delsing will continue to report to Phillips.
Mancuso, 45, has been executive vice president at Klein since 1992. Because Delsing will oversee both Arden and Klein as chairman of the Prestige Personal Products division, Mancuso will continue to report to her.
Shearer has been president and managing director of L’Oreal’s LancÖme Parfums et BeautÄ in Tokyo for two years. At LanoÖme, he succeeds Pierre Rogers, who resigned in April after four years as LancÖme president to develop a private label line of cosmetics for Sears, Roebuck Co. Shearer’s appointment is effective Sept. 1.
Mancuso’s and Delsing’s appointments, both of which were announced Thursday, will take effect Aug. 1. Neither woman was available for comment.
The new appointees will head three of the most powerful companies in the industry.
Arden’s global volume is around $1 billion, according to industry estimates. The Klein company, a wunderkind of the Eighties fragrance business, jumped from $250 million in 1990, when Delsing succeeded Robin Burns as president, to over $400 million this year.
LancÖme is one of “the big three” of department store cosmetics retailing, along with market leader Estee Lauder and Clinique. The division’s wholesale volume exceeded $400 million last year and retail sell-through increased by 10 percent for the first six months this year.
Industry observers applauded all three appointments.
“Kim Delsing certainly has done a splendid job at Calvin Klein,” said Diana Temple, cosmetics security analyst at Salomon Bros.
Referring to the company’s upcoming fall launch of CK One, she said, “I think the price points and its unisex concept could give the fragrance good appeal.”
Management consultant Allan Mottus, who compiles an annual cosmetics market share study for department stores, said Klein and Arden and its Parfums International division had a 10.4 percent share of the $4 billion women’s fragrance and cosmetics market in 1993, up from 9.9 percent the previous year.
LancÖme, in comparison, had an 11.9 percent share in 1993, up 0.2 percent from 1992.
Mancuso may not be as well known throughout the industry as Delsing is, but she has been playing a key role at Klein for more than a decade. She and Delsing joined Klein in 1983, Mancuso as Eastern regional sales manager, Delsing as vice president of sales. They’ve been working together ever since.
Mottus praised Delsing and Mancuso for being “hands-on, detail-oriented and conceptual.”
“A lot of people in the beauty industry are good with concepts but they can’t execute down to the details,” he said.
As an example, Mottus cited the revamped advertising last year for Klein’s 1985 women’s fragrance, Obsession, with ads and spots starring Kate Moss.
“They updated the advertising but didn’t lose the concept,” he said.
“The decisions indicate Unilever’s continuing confidence in its U.S. management and its commitment to increasing its share in the prestige cosmetics category,” said consultant John Horvitz. “Kim Delsing has demonstrated her creative skills as well as her ability to manage both her retail accounts and her own internal organization in exemplary fashion.
“Kim has demonstrated over the years her ability to relate to the trade with sensitivity and with her interpersonal skills, as well as her creativity and good marketing instincts,” Horvitz continued, adding that Delsing will be a good fit for the Arden team.
Shearer at Lancome has a strong international track record. At the age of 41, he is already a veteran of the globalized cosmetics industry, having run businesses for L’Oreal in the U.K. as well as Japan and he ran Elizabeth Arden’s operation in Mexico from 1983 to 1986.
During the Arden stint, he met Guy Peyrelongue, who then headed L’Oreal’s Cosbel unit in Mexico City and is now Shearer’s boss as president and ceo of Cosmair.
Peyrelongue, who subsequently recruited Shearer for L’Oreal, said, “He has a very good marketing sense,” adding that the executive also has a good grasp of the specifics and the dynamics of the department store business. Both in the U.K. and in Japan, he moved the business to “a new level,”Peyrelongue said.
The Cosmair chief noted that Shearer has the right background for LancÖme, since he has worked in the U.K, Mexico and Japan, three of the five largest department store markets in the world. The others are the U.S. and Canada. Shearer also spent a few months at Cosmair early in 1988 before moving to London.
In addition, Shearer is good with people, Peyrelongue said, adding, “I know he will have a good relationship with retailers.”
Shearer had earned the respect of some American executives as a tough competitor during his London years, when he was managing director of Lancome UK from 1988 to 1992.
“He was smart, ambitious and effective,” said one competitor.
During an interview here this week, while Shearer was visiting Cosmair, he discussed what he learned overseas and what he can apply to his new job in New York.
One possible contribution, Shearer said, is to attempt to intensify service in the stores, based on what he learned in Japan. This will be a plus at a time when Cosmair is trying to build new business for LancÖme with less of a reliance on promotion, which accounts for an estimated 35 percent of the volume.
“In Japan, you go shopping and buy something and you are happy about it,” he said, noting that Japanese beauty advisers spend 20 or 25 minutes with a customer out of a determination to solve their problem and a sense of pride in the job.
Shearer would like to translate this into making a greater effort at point of sale, not just selling less.
“It’s easier to put out another G [a gift-with-purchase promotion] than to convince a beauty adviser to sell more in a different way.”
But try he will. When asked what mandate he was given in taking the job, Shearer replied with a smile, “To make it bigger.”