On Tuesday, Sephora announced that Jean-André Rougeot would be the new CEO of Sephora Americas, effective Feb. 4, according to a company press release emailed to Retail Dive. He replaces Calvin McDonald, who left the beauty retailer to take over as CEO of Lululemon in August.
Rougeot has spent the past 12 years as CEO of Benefit Cosmetics, another brand under the umbrella of parent company LVMH and a brand partner of Sephora's for over a decade, according to the release.
Rougeot also has experience as the president and CEO of Coty. He will be based out of San Francisco and will report to Sephora Global President and CEO Christopher de Lapuente, according to the release.
After five months without a CEO to lead its North America division, Sephora can finally check that off its to-do list. McDonald had been in the position for almost five years before his departure, and the retailer is staying within the LVMH family for its next CEO.
The fact that Rougeot is coming from Benefit Cosmetics has some advantages for Sephora, as he is already familiar with some of the retailer's operations, and de Lapuente pointed to his "breadth of knowledge of the North American prestige beauty and retail marketplace" as a key factor in his ability to lead the company going forward.
Sephora has been considered a leader and disruptor in the beauty space for years, and is one of the beauty players credited with changing how customers shop. Rather than the traditional brand-by-brand, counter-by-counter approach at department stores, Sephora ushered in an era of brand agnostic associates and a touch-and-feel approach to beauty products that has been copied or reproduced by many of those traditional players.
While the retailer is performing well for parent company LVMH and helping to lift J.C. Penney some as well, the beauty category remains a competitive space, with Ulta only just leveling off its store opening rate and small startups like Glossier and Birchbox trying to make a more serious mark on the space. The former opened a new flagship in November and the latter recently partnered with Walgreens. Rougeot is entering the retailer at a strong starting point, but he will also need to keep pressure on the innovation pipeline in a sector with many potential disruptors.
"Together, we will continue strengthening Sephora's brand partnerships, innovating and delighting clients with the best experience and assortment of prestige beauty products," Rougeot said in a statement, "whether they are shopping in our stores or across our outstanding digital platforms."