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Kering recruits Estee Lauder exec for push into cosmetics

Kering recruits Estee Lauder exec for push into cosmetics
By Reuters
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By Mimosa Spencer

PARIS - French luxury goods group Kering said on Friday it was entering the cosmetics business, with the announcement that it has recruited seasoned Estee Lauder executive Raffaella Cornaggia to head the push into the new segment.

"We are building this new area of expertise within our Group to ensure that our brands can fulfill their potential in this category," group Managing Director Jean-Francois Palus said in a statement.

Cornaggia has been appointed chief executive officer of Kering Beaute, the statement said.

Developing brand presence in cosmetics was "strategically important," Palus said.

The move echoes Kering's development of its eyewear division, an activity it began building in-house in 2014, to make eyewear for its high-end fashion labels.

Luxury groups, which have been riding a strong wave of post-pandemic demand for designer labels, have been tightening their grip on production and expanding the range of products sold by their brands.

Kering said on Friday it would develop beauty products for Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Pomellato and Qeelin.

The decision to move forward with the activity is "positive on a mid-term timeframe," said Piral Dadhania, an analyst with RBC, noting it would allow Kering "sufficient time" to build the business in-house with its smaller labels, opening the way to potentially fold in beauty products from its star label Gucci, when its licence deal with Coty expires, likely not before five years.

Kering declined to comment on its agreement with Coty.

The group also has a long-term licence for its French fashion label Yves Saint Laurent with L'Oreal.

Dadhania said Cornaggia's experience at Chanel, L'Oreal and Estee Lauder suggests she has "strong relationships" in the sector.

Cornaggia was senior vice president and general manager of the Estee Lauder brand's international business, working also in Asia and expanding travel retail during her 14 years at the group. She previously worked in perfumes and makeup at Chanel, as well as luxury products at L'Oreal.

The fast-growing global beauty market generated $357 billion in revenue in 2021, according to Euromonitor International, and is set to rise in the mid-to-high single digits, percentage-wise through 2026, according to Coresight Research.

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