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Douglas CEO to Return July 1; Company Creates New Role

Michael Keppel will hold the newly created position of chief restructuring officer.

PARIS — Premium German beauty retailer Douglas said Tuesday that its chief executive officer, Tina Müller, will resume her company functions starting July 1.

On May 11, it announced that Müller was convalescing after emergency surgery, and that Vanessa Stützle, Douglas’ executive vice president of e-commerce and CRM, and Matthias Born, the group’s financial officer, were jointly handling Müller’s job on an interim basis.

Douglas also announced on Tuesday that it has appointed Michael Keppel to its management board as chief restructuring officer, a newly created position, beginning July 1.

Keppel will be charged with developing a concept “for repositioning and future-proofing the Douglas store network within the framework of the #Forwardbeauty strategy against the backdrop of the changed market environment caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” Douglas said in a statement.

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“At the same time, Douglas is working at accelerating e-commerce growth through its platform strategy and reaching the 1 billion euro mark in e-commerce sales expeditiously,” the company continued.

“The coronavirus pandemic has changed consumption behavior radically,” said Henning Kreke, chairman of Douglas’ supervisory board. “Some of this change will be permanent — leading to a lasting loss of frequency and sales for stationary retail business. As a responsible retail company, we have always actively steered our store network. And we will do this again now.”

Müller said the coronavirus pandemic had acted as a catalyst and additional accelerator for online retail business. “Nevertheless, the stores will remain a major pillar of our omnichannel strategy, but the store network needs to change to remain sustainable in the new reality,” he said.

Keppel comes from a family in the wholesale retail business, and he has more than 25 years’ experience in restructuring businesses, particularly in the retail channel.

The executive founded Keppel Mangementpartners in 2011 and has served as an independent management consultant. Keppel was a partner at Alvarez & Marsal and at Alix Partners.

While ramping up its growth in e-commerce, Douglas said it will develop a concept for the future of its European brick-and-mortar stores, which should be presented at the end of this summer.

Douglas is among the largest premium beauty sellers in Europe. It counts about 2,400 stores in 26 countries and sells approximately 55,000 products from 750 brands.

In its 2018-19 fiscal year, the company’s sales reached 3.5 billion euros.