Pierre Denis walks away from Jimmy Choo to become CEO of Coty
Feb 28, 2020
Jimmy Choo’s loss is Coty’s gain. Pierre Denis, the executive who oversaw Jimmy Choo’s stock exchange listing and its sale to Michael Kors, is leaving the luxury footwear and accessories brand after eight years at the helm. He’ll step down from the role in late May and will become CEO of Coty. He’ll be the beauty giant's fourth CEO in the past five years.
Denis took Jimmy Choo public back in 2014, although current Coty majority shareholder JAB Holdings retained control of the firm. He then drove the growth that saw it a takeover target several years later when JAB exited its fashion ops to focus on areas such as beauty. Michael Kors Holdings (now called Capri Holdings) acquired it for around $1.2 billion in 2017, or almost £900 million at the exchange rate back then.
“Pierre has been an outstanding leader of Jimmy Choo, delivering consistent strong performance and driving the growth of the brand,” said John Idol, chairman and CEO of Capri Holdings. Idol is currently searching for a new Choo CEO to replace Denis.
Despite a career in fashion that included running John Galliano and Christian Dior Couture (in EMEA) for LVMH, Denis also has strong experience in the beauty sector. Under him, Jimmy Choo has grown its perfumes business and, while at LVMH, he spent three years running Parfums Christian Dior in the Asia Pacific Region.
Meanwhile, JAB Holdings confirmed that he would replace Pierre Laubies at Coty with the two working together during a transition period. Laubies took up the post in November 2018 and will continue in his job until the summer.
JAB said on Friday that "building on the strong foundation in place, Pierre Denis’ extensive sector experience will be invaluable to accelerating top-line growth across Coty’s core categories: Fragrances, Cosmetics and Skin Care. He will assume responsibility for the Marketing, Sales, Human Resources, R&D and Legal organizations."
To support the new CEO's growth agenda, CFO Pierre-André Térisse has been promoted to the newly created position of COO, focused on "securing effective alignment and integration of all support functions. He will retain in full his CFO role and responsibilities".
They will certainly have their work cut out with Coty having struggled for a number of years following its $12 billion purchase of Procter & Gamble’s beauty brands back in 2015.
The company bought that business just as mass-market make-up was about to enter a troubled phase of falling sales with new brands launched by influencers eating into its sales. Its troubles in integrating the unit into its own business have claimed the jobs of several CEOs so far.
Laubies launched a four-year turnaround plan in 2019 that saw costs being cut and the professional hair and nail care operation being put up for sale. Under his tenure, the company also bought control of Kylie Jenner’s beauty business for $600 million, acquiring the kind of indie, influencer-based operation that had been responsible for undermining some of its heritage mass-market make-up brands.
Peter Harf, who’s chairman of both JAB and Coty, said: “In less than 18 months, Pierre Laubies and his team have implemented a number of strategic initiatives to position the company for sustainable growth and long-term success.”
He added that Denis has “a wealth of experience in cosmetics and luxury in developed and developing markets, including Asia.”
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