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10 BEAUTY'S BIG NEWS
AN ERA ENDS AT L'OREAL USA
Byline: Matthew W. Evans / Jennifer Weil
Call it a passing of the torch.
Guy Peyrelongue signaled the end of one of the most dynamic periods in L'Oreal's history in the U.S. when he announced that he would be stepping down as president and chief executive of the French beauty giant's U.S. subsidiary.
Peyrelongue gave the word shortly after turning 64 in February that his incumbency, which spanned more than 15 years beginning on Jan. 1, 1987, would end on Dec. 31.
Jean-Paul Agon, the former managing director of the Asia Zone for L'Oreal, took over the reins in October. "This is Jean-Paul's office now," Peyrelongue said as he offered his chair to Agon.
The longest-tenured ceo in L'Oreal USA's 48-year history, Peyrelongue was no stranger to benchmarks. "Under his leadership and direction, the sales of L'Oreal USA increased fourfold between 1986 and 2000," said Lindsay Owen-Jones, chairman and ceo of parent L'Oreal.
Aside from the quadrupling of sales, which pushed corporate volume beyond the $3 billion mark last year, L'Oreal's share of the department store prestige business was another measure of progress. L'Oreal became second only to prestige leader Estee Lauder with a more than 19 percent market share this fall, according to NPD BeautyTrends.
A Senior Moment: Skin Care for Baby Boomers
For years, beauty companies rolled out anti-age skin care products with 25- to 45-year-olds in mind. But in 2001, they turned their attention to a new demographic, which accounts for a large, growing segment of the worldwide population boasting deep pockets: women over 45.
Among the brands now targeting this growing crowd in treatment were Lancome, with Absolue, meant to combat changes in skin related to aging, such as hormonal deficiencies and sun exposure; Decleor, with the Vitaroma Lift Total, comprising three products to fight slackening, wrinkles, dryness and loss of luminosity; Guerlain, with the Substantific trio to stimulate the synthesis of the skin's proteins; Chanel, with the three-stockkeeping-unit Ultra Correction line, which includes a night cream that can be used with a five-minute facial, and Yves Saint Laurent Parfums, with Lisse Expert to fight against deep wrinkles.
In makeup, Yves Rocher targeted the over-40 set with its Yria line. The 780-sku collection includes eye and lip bases meant to smooth over fine lines.
But the trend doesn't stop there. Beauty firms began realizing in 2001 that nothing sells products for mature women better than mature spokeswomen. So L'Oreal -- for one -- took the leap and signed actress Catherine Deneuve, 57, as the face for its Elseve Regenium hair care line this year.