Coty Inc. aims to get serious about skin care.
The newly public company has recruited beauty veteran Jill Scalamandre to head Philosophy — the cheeky skin-care brand known for products such as Hope in a Jar and Miracle Worker. The Philosophy brand is in need of some divine intervention of its own. Coty acquired Philosophy for $929.7 million in cash in 2011, but a year later took $515 million in impairment charges to adjust the value of the trademark and account for the impact of weaker-than-expected sales and a slower international rollout than anticipated.
Scalamandre, for her part, knows skin care and is well ensconced in the beauty industry. She currently serves as chairwoman of the industry organization Cosmetic Executive Women Inc. Her experience spans multiple categories, including skin care, cosmetics and hair care, and cuts across both mass and prestige.
Most recently, she was chief marketing officer at Chrysallis Inc., a management arm for the private equity firm Catterton Partners. While at Chrysallis, she oversaw the StriVectin and Nia24 skin-care brands, as well as the sale of Frédéric Fekkai hair care to Procter & Gamble Co. in 2008.
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Prior to that, Scalamandre was senior vice president of global beauty brands at Avon Products Inc., where she oversaw an $8 billion beauty portfolio. Before joining Avon, she was managing director at Prada Beauty, where she launched the beauty division and last served as managing director. She began her career at Revlon Inc. in the Eighties, and during her 16-year tenure there she helped to launch the ColorStay and Age Defying franchises.
Her current post of senior vice president of Philosophy and Coty Prestige Skin Care became effective July 8. She reports to Jean Mortier, president of Coty Prestige, who is based in Paris, and Marc Rey, president of Coty Prestige U.S. and regional vice president of Coty Prestige North America, who is based in New York. Like Rey, Scalamandre will work out of Coty’s new global headquarters in the Empire State Building. The company’s other two New York locations along Park Avenue will relocate to the Empire State Building in the fall. It will continue to operate corporate offices in Paris and Geneva. Coty said it is relocating Philosophy’s commercial and marketing teams and research and development functions from Phoenix, where they are currently based, to New York and Morris Plains, N.J., where Coty operates an R&D facility.
Scalamandre joins Coty at a pivotal time for the beauty firm, which returned to life as a public company on June 13 in a lukewarm stockmarket debut. Several Wall Street analysts have suggested that Coty needs to meaningfully increase its skin-care business, potential through acquisitions, as well as grow its presence in developing markets to gain ground on its larger peers.
Coty said that while Philosophy will be Scalamandre’s immediate focus, she will progressively support Coty’s other skin-care brand Lancaster.
Part of Scalamandre’s job will likely be growing Philosophy’s presence beyond the U.S., which accounts for more than 90 percent of the brand’s sales.
Following Coty’s initial public offering last month, Coty’s chief executive officer, Michele Scannavini, told WWD, “We are very happy with the brand. It has a unique and special position in the U.S. skin-care market.” The aim, he added, is to bolster international sales with “a slow build,” particularly across Anglo-Saxon countries or markets with a strong preference for U.S. brands. For instance, he said Philosophy has recently entered the U.K. and the Netherlands, and entered Asia in Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea. “We will be very selective in expanding,” said Scannavini. Asked if the brand’s whimsical nature will play well in Asia, where consumers gravitate toward more serious concepts, he said the brand will test in certain markets to see how it performs.