L'Oreal Appoints First CMO, Joining CPG, Beauty Peers

Luxury Chief Menesguen Will Head Newly Created Strategic Department

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BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- L'Oreal, one of the last remaining global beauty and package-goods players without a chief marketing officer, has named its first CMO, tapping a 25-year veteran of the company's marketing and general-management ranks for the post.

Marc Menesguen
Marc Menesguen
Marc Menesguen will head the company's newly created strategic marketing department as of Jan. 1. Currently managing director of L'Oreal's luxury products division, Mr. Menesguen will continue to serve on L'Oreal's executive committee and continue to report to CEO Jean-Paul Agon.

The move follows Unilever naming its first CMO in 2008. The company elevated the position to executive-board status with added responsibility over communications and sustainability issues earlier this year as the post moved from Simon Clift to Keith Weed. L'Oreal's U.S.-based prestige beauty rival, Estee Lauder, earlier this year also named its first CMO, Johnson & Johnson veteran Georgia Garinois-Melenikiotou, who became that company's senior VP-corporate marketing. Kimberly-Clark Corp. named its first CMO, Kellogg veteran Tony Palmer, in 2007.

Mr. Menesguen has led the luxury-products division since 2004, launching several new brands and integrating the 2008 acquisition of Yves Saint-Laurent. The luxury division, hit hard by recession, has rebounded strongly this year, leading L'Oreal business units with sales up 9.7% through the first half of 2010.

L'Oreal reported $7 billion in advertising and promotion outlays globally last year on sales of nearly $23 billion, but its marketing outlay appears to include a considerable amount of promotional money that would represent a reduction in net sales for a company operating under U.S. accounting rules.

L'Oreal is ranked No. 68 in Ad Age's Top 100 Global Marketers' report, with annual ad spending of $553 million, half of which is in Asia, where L'Oreal is the No. 4 advertiser. (In home market France, L'Oreal is No. 2.) The marketer's biggest overseas assignments are handled by McCann Erickson and Publicis Worldwide, and the marketer also works internationally with Euro RSCG, DraftFCB, Saatchi & Saatchi and Y&R.

In a statement, L'Oreal said that the "creation of a strategic marketing department is a result of the decision to anticipate worldwide evolutions in order to steer [the company] towards essential transformations in the areas of strategic watch, consumer understanding, marketing creativity, advertising creation, digital communication and distribution methods."

Prior to the luxury-division post, Mr. Menesguen had been managing director of L'Oreal Japan from 2000 to 2004. He joined the company's consumer products division in 1985 in his native France, serving as general manager of L'Oreal Paris in the U.K. and France and as managing director of Lancome.

Taking Mr. Menesguen's place in luxury products will be Nicolas Hieronimus, now managing director of the professional products division. Taking Mr. Hieronimus' place will be An Verhulst-Santos. She's been managing director of the U.S. professional products division since 2008.

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