SPELLMAN EXITS ARDEN
Byline: Pete Born
NEW YORK — After a decade of piloting product development at Elizabeth Arden, Joseph Spellman, executive vice president of product marketing and creative services, has left the company to explore other opportunities.
“After 10 years, it’s time to move,” Spellman said from his Manhattan home Monday. He did not say where he was going.
Peter Midwood, who took the helm of Arden as president at the beginning of the year, said Spellman “took advantage of our restructuring” to step down.
As previously noted, Unilever has undertaken cutbacks throughout the corporation. Midwood said Arden would maintain “a small in-house creative team.” Midwood said Spellman’s departure was amicable. “He made a great contribution to Arden,” Midwood said, noting that last year’s Green Tea launch was just the latest example of innovative products crafted by Spellman. He even got involved in technological breakthroughs, like Arden’s mainstay Ceramide Time Complex Capsules. Midwood said Unilever had the technology, but was unsure of the application until Spellman made some suggestions.
Spellman’s career with Arden began in February 1988, when he was named head of the marketing department after working as a consultant, advising Faberge Inc. on its December 1987 acquisition of Arden from Eli Lilly.
Joseph Ronchetti was president of Arden then and he and Spellman, with the help of others, like Paul Masturzo, went to work resuscitating what one retailer described as “a sleepy old line that catered to old ladies.”
Their efforts went into high gear after Arden was purchased by Unilever in mid-1989. Far from sleepy, Arden became a red-hot launch pad for splashy, innovative projects. The streak stretched into the mid-Nineties.
Spellman rarely gave interviews, but his presence behind the scenes was evidenced by the constant stream of new products. He was probably best known for his role in the creation of the blockbuster Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds fragrance, which became one of Arden’s biggest franchises. But even products that did not survive the sales ranking wars, such as Lip Spa lipstick — the Spa skin care product that was the first to use vitamins and Sun Flowers fragrance — were considered noteworthy.
Before joining Arden, Spellman had worked for 12 years at his own marketing and creative design firm.
In the Seventies, he was with Estee Lauder, where he rose to vice president of marketing.