PARIS — Stéphane Rinderknech has been appointed chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s Perfumes and Cosmetics division.
In the role, he oversees all of the group’s 15 beauty brands, organized under Parfums Christian Dior, Guerlain, LVMH Fragrance Brands and Kendo. Rinderknech, who entered LVMH in 2022, also continues leading LVMH Hospitality Excellence, which includes Hôtels Cheval Blanc and Belmond Hotels and trains. He remains a member of the group’s executive committee as well.
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“The appointment of Stéphane Rinderknech at the head of the beauty division completes the reorganization of the group by category,” said Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH and head of Financière Agache, the main family holding company, in a statement.
“Stéphane has since his arrival guided the rebound of our hotel activities with considerable strategic agility, driving tremendous momentum across the entire organization,” Arnault continued. “This experience in a new industry confirmed his ability to adopt, his leadership and direct engagement with teams. His deep understanding of the beauty industry will help him leverage the unique assets of each of our maisons.”
Reporting to Rinderknech in new appointments are Véronique Courtois, who takes up the reins of Parfums Christian Dior, and Gabrielle Saint-Genis Rodriguez, who now steers Guerlain.
“I am delighted with the appointment of Véronique Courtois, who continues her exceptional career path within the LVMH group,” Arnault said. “Over the seven years, during which she was in charge of products and image at Parfums Christian Dior, she significantly elevated the desirability of the maison.
“The success of Sauvage, the world’s leading fragrance, is a prime example of her remarkable contributions,” he added. “Since 2019, Véronique has also done a tremendous job elevating the maison Guerlain. She will draw on her experience to open a new chapter in the growth of Parfums Christian Dior.”
At Dior, Courtois succeeds Laurent Kleitman, who is leaving the company.
“The LVMH group extends its sincere thanks to Laurent for his contributions to the growth, especially during the health crisis, and to the rapid digital transformation of Parfums Christian Dior, as well as for his remarkable human qualities,” LVMH said in the statement. “The group wishes him every success in his future endeavors.”
Saint-Genis Rodriguez for the past four years has served as Make Up For Ever’s CEO.
“Gabrielle Saint-Genis Rodriguez, who has been in the LVMH group for 11 years, followed an admirable journey, meeting many challenges,” Arnault said. “With her leadership and commercial expertise, she was responsible for increasingly important markets at Parfums Christian Dior, contributing to the success of the maison. More recently, she has spurred dynamic momentum at Make Up For Ever with innovative products and highly effective initiatives. Gabrielle has all the required qualities to add wonderful new chapters to the story of maison Guerlain.”
It is the first time Parfums Christian Dior and Guerlain have female CEOs.
Succeeding Rodriguez at Make Up For Ever is Charles-Henri Levaillant, since November 2020 digital and client development director at Louis Vuitton.
“With his successful entrepreneurial background, Charles-Henri Levaillant joined the LVMH group after holding key positions in several other industries,” Arnault said. “At LVMH, he first held a role in the strategic department, gaining a global vision of our business. Since 2020, he has successfully overseen digital developments at Louis Vuitton, accelerating growth and improving the client experience. He will now leverage his experience as he takes up a new operational challenge at the head of Make Up For Ever.”
Meanwhile, Claude Martinez has been appointed chairman and CEO of GAIA, LVMH’s research and innovation center and becomes an adviser on innovation to Arnault.
In November 2019, Martinez stepped down from steering Parfums Christian Dior and took on the title of managing director of LVMH Perfumes and Cosmetics, with oversight of Guerlain, Parfums Givenchy, Parfums Kenzo and Parfums Christian Dior.
“I want to thank Claude for his achievements at Parfums Christian Dior for more than 20 years,” Arnault said. “With his sharp eye and remarkable determination, he has led this magnificent maison to a global leadership position at the very high-end of the market, spreading its unique values of elegance thanks to innovative products, coupled with refined and contemporary communication.
“More recently, he took on a broader role within the beauty division,” the executive said. “I am delighted to see Claude take on the leadership of an initiative with great potential for the LVMH group, our new GAIA research center. I am also pleased that we will benefit from his experience through is role as advisor to topics related to innovation.”
A seasoned beauty executive, Rinderknech spent most of his career at L’Oréal, lastly — between 2019 and 2022 — as the company’s president of the North America Zone, CEO of L’Oréal USA and a member of the group’s executive committee.
For decades there has been no one executive helming LVMH’s Perfumes and Cosmetics division. It’s a big and fast-growing business. In 2022, the division generated sales of 7.72 billion euros, up 17 percent on-year.
LVMH ranked sixth in the most recent WWD Beauty Inc Top 100 listing of beauty manufacturers, which reflected 2021 sales and was published in April 2022.
The grouping of all of LVMH’s fragrance and cosmetics holdings under one executive’s purview comes at a time when the beauty industry’s competitiveness is ramping up.
As groups like L’Oréal keep gaining market share, LVMH’s rival Kering is diving back into the beauty game full-force. As previously reported, Kering in early February revealed it had hired a seasoned Estée Lauder Cos. executive, Raffaella Cornaggia, to develop the beauty category, taking brands such as Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga and others in-house, as starters.
The executive shift in LVMH’s Perfumes and Cosmetics division comes two months after a spate of leadership changes shook the top of Louis Vuitton and Dior, LVMH’s flagship fashion houses. Pietro Beccari was named chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton and Delphine Arnault was named CEO of Dior.
Rinderknech is a graduate of ISG Business School in Paris. He began at the world’s largest beauty company in 2002, within its American travel retail division, then accrued additional responsibilities when taking on positions in Japan and South Korea.
Rinderknech moved to China in 2011, first as general manager of L’Oréal’s Luxe division, then as head of the Consumer Products division before being promoted to president and CEO of L’Oréal China for all divisions and corporate operations.
Rinderknech became a member of L’Oréal’s executive committee in 2018 and a year later assumed the management helm of L’Oréal USA.
Hailed as a rising star and viable candidate to be CEO of L’Oréal’s global operations one day, Rinderknech was responsible for increasing the company’s China business by 30 percent during his time as CEO of that division. His strength in digital marketing — e-commerce accounted for 40 percent of L’Oréal’s sales in the country when he left — was a key driver behind his appointment in the U.S., where Rinderknech was charged with accelerating L’Oréal’s digital transformation.
At LVMH under Rinderknech is also Stéphanie Medioni, executive president of LVMH Perfumes and Cosmetics, who will retain the responsibility for Aqua di Parma, Benefit Cosmetics, Fresh, Make Up For Ever, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Loewe Parfums Officine Universelle Buly and Stella by Stella McCartney.
Also reporting to Rinderknech will be Hugues Dusseaux, deputy president of the beauty division; Maud Alvarez-Pereyre, global senior vice president of human resources at LVMH Beauty; Bruno Bavouzet, R&D executive vice president at LVMH, and Jean-Michel Moutin, chief operating officer of LVMH Beauty.
While LVMH is known for growing and grooming executive talent from within, it has recruited a number of high-profile L’Oréal executives in recent years, including Renaud de Lesquen, president and CEO of Givenchy; Damien Bertrand, CEO of Loro Piana, and Pierre-Emmanuel Angeloglou, executive vice president, strategic missions for fashion and leather goods at Louis Vuitton.
The last person to oversee all of LVMH’s beauty holdings was Patrick Choël, who held the title of president of LVMH’s Perfume and Cosmetics division for six-and-a-half years, until retiring from that role in March 2004. That division was restructured after his departure. Under the-then new organization, brand chiefs no longer reported directly to one executive on all business matters.
Martinez, who at the time was president and CEO of Parfums Christian Dior, began also overseeing brand synergies, such as research and development and purchasing, and reported directly to Arnault. Other brand heads began reporting to Antonio Belloni, LVMH’s group managing director.
Belloni and Chantal Gaemperle, executive vice president of human resources and synergies at LVMH, have helped spearhead the divisional shifts at the group.
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