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Fashion Is Smitten With Beauty Executives: Here’s Why

They're attracted by formidable marketing, digital, data brand and consumer engagement skills, headhunters say.


WWD | October 1, 2019



The WWD article, "Fashion Is Smitten With Beauty Executives: Here's Why," quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Béatrice Ballini on why fashion and luxury firms are bringing on board beauty executives into their ranks. The article is excerpted below.

Take a seasoned beauty executive, add some retail experience and a scoop of creative management know-how and — voilà — the fashion executive of tomorrow. It’s a recipe that’s become increasingly popular as a host of fashion and luxury firms, led by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, speed up their recruitment from the L’Oréals and P&Gs of the world, attracted by the formidable marketing, digital, brand and consumer engagement skills baked in there.

Over the summer, Pierre-Emmanuel Angeloglou became the latest to cross over, exiting his position as global brand president of L’Oréal Paris to become director of strategic missions for fashion and leather goods at Louis Vuitton. According to sources, he is learning the retail and product ropes at Vuitton’s store network in Scandinavia.

“Fashion houses need fresh perspectives,” said Béatrice Ballini, managing director at search firm Russell Reynolds. “Consumers demand that brands engage with a wider audience rather than portray themselves as purely aspirational. Executives who have worked in consumer-facing industries such as beauty are used to wider audiences.”

Headhunters agreed that fashion firms covet the expertise beauty executives accrue, especially as all things digital roil the industry and as fashion brands play catch-up to be more consumer-centric and create emotional bonds in a competitive market. Hurdles include the

slippery subject of taste, and sometimes mismatched compensation expectations. Marketing expertise headlines the skill most compelling to the fashion crowd.

“Fashion houses need proper showcasing of their products. They also need the attention of the customer when a new collection hits the store. These product launches have been traditionally better organized by beauty than fashion,” Ballini explained.

Beauty executives are adept at “putting the consumer, not the product, at the center of every action plan, widening the voice of the brand through social, etc., and organizing launches as they are in consumer products — in essence infusing marketing into the organization,” she added.

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However, very few executives shift sectors purely for money. “One cannot generalize,” according to Ballini. “Some beauty executives are extremely well-paid. I do not think that this mini migration is driven by money. I really believe that beauty executives are attracted by the challenge of being able to bring a powerful impact in fashion houses, become more visible and have more fun.”
In general, headhunters see barriers breaking down between industries, and talent flowing in various directions.

To read the full article, click here.

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Fashion Is Smitten With Beauty Executives: Here’s Why