NEW DANA CEO RESIGNS
Byline: Laura Klepacki
NEW YORK — After 18 months at the helm, Robert M. Bartlett, chief executive officer of the New Dana Perfumes Corp., has resigned to pursue other business opportunities, according to Al Cowger, vice president and general counsel.
Isaac Cohen, chief operating officer has become acting ceo, and Tony Wesley, chief financial officer, is now acting chief operating officer. Cohen and Wesley are expected to be named to the posts permanently. Cohen was not available for comment.
New Dana, which markets some 36 fragrances — Fetish and Tinkerbell cosmetics and Cosmar nail products, among others — is a company in transition. It was created in the summer of 1999 out of the acquisition of Renaissance Cosmetics by Fragrance Express, a gift catalog and telemarketing firm, and an investor group.
Under Bartlett, the company signed pop star Christina Aguilera to partner on the Fetish brand that is now relaunching as Fetish by Christina Aguilera. Many of its classic fragrances have been repackaged, such as Heaven Sent and Canoe. Meanwhile, Tinkerbell is on the block. Carolyn Zonino, vice president of marketing for New Dana explained that Tinkerbell, a youth brand, doesn’t fit with its other businesses.
Cowger said Bartlett left due to differences of opinion in the direction of the company and is pursuing other interests in the industry. Bartlett did not respond to a request for comment.
Bottle designer Marc Rosen, who has been working with New Dana on its fragrance efforts, said mass fragrances are now competing with prestige fragrances. “So packaging is a very essential part of the mix,” he said.
Canoe, which made its debut in 1932, has retained elements of its original look. The bottle, once round, is more oval, but has been given added weight for a quality feel. The flags, which spell out Canoe in nautical symbols, also remain. The scent has been modified only slightly. Canoe, initially targeted at college men, maintained a more upscale image than other drugstore colognes and aftershave brands, said Rosen.
A new Heaven Sent fragrance was designed by H&R/Creations Aromatique inspired by the original. The bottle and outer packaging taps into the emerging interest in things spiritual and heavenly, as witnessed by the popularity of TV shows like “Touched by an Angel.” Floating clouds filled with cherubs on a sky blue background set the tone. The cherubs are carried over onto the bottle top in a frosted arch.
The Heaven Sent and Canoe bottles have recently hit shelves, and early Christmas results for New Dana fragrances that also include core items Chantilly, Love’s Baby Soft and Tabu have been positive, said Zonino.
Kathy Steirly, vice president of cosmetics at Eckerd, remarked that the chain’s New Dana sales had picked up over last year.