UNILEVER CREATES A NEW PRESTIGE BEAUTY COMPANY
NEW YORK — Years of speculation about Unilever possibly pulling out of the prestige beauty business were silenced Tuesday with a bold announcement that a new company has been formed — Unilever Cosmetics International.
The president and chief executive officer of the new company is Paulanne Mancuso, former head of Calvin Klein Cosmetics Co. Mancuso is being succeeded as president by Sheila Cutner, who has been senior vice president of global marketing and communications at Klein.
Klein Cosmetics, which holds the Calvin Klein beauty license, will be one of two operating units of Unilever Cosmetics International. The other division, Unilever Prestige, will develop licensed beauty businesses, beginning with the Nautica licensing agreement, which was obtained last year. The Prestige division’s first project is a Nautica men’s scent, according to executives. A number of other licensing deals have been struck, the company said, but not disclosed. The Unilever Prestige division is expected to grow to a respectable size since it is sharing an organizational structure with Klein, whose wholesale volume has been estimated at $700 million.
The president of Unilever Prestige is Laura Lee Miller, who has been senior vice president of prestige strategic planning and business development of Unilever Home & Personal Care-North America.
The Klein division, which will continue to maintain its own separate product development, sales and marketing organization, is now in the process of rolling out a color cosmetics line. In addition, a new Calvin Klein women’s fragrance is being planned for fall, according to Cutner, who was reached at a Unilever meeting in the Netherlands.
“The demand for luxury fragrance and cosmetics products is on the rise around the world,” said Charles B. Strauss, president of Unilever Home & Personal Care-North America, in a statement. “The establishment of Unilever Cosmetics International is a solid indication of Unilever’s commitment to the category. Our goal is to rapidly expand the Unilever portfolio of global brands to achieve top-tier status in important markets around the world.”
Also reached in the Netherlands, Mancuso said the goal is “to accelerate growth by taking the opportunity to leverage an organization that understands the fragrance business and use it to move forward.”
The Elizabeth Arden subsidiary, which is undergoing a fundamental reorganization to improve profitability, is unaffected by the changes.