Paolo De Cesare

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[Geneva] Skin is definitely in at Procter & Gamble Co, and Paolo De Cesare gets much of the credit for the rapidly growing global skincare business.

Mr. De Cesare, 45, was already president-global skincare and prestige beauty when he added responsibility for personal cleansing and deodorants earlier this year; he ceded responsibility for P&G's still relatively small prestige beauty business. His specific title changed to reflect these shifts.

The revamp gives Mr. De Cesare responsibility over one of the critical areas of overlap between P&G and recently acquired Gillette Co. It also positions him as a key executive with unlimited upside at a company that puts a premium on developing management talent from outside the U.S.

Though P&G had to sell Right Guard to get U.S. clearance for the merger, it will still be adding Gillette series deodorants. Mr. De Cesare also leads P&G's increasingly tough fight against Unilever's global men's personal-care juggernaut-the Axe and Lynx brands.

He's already competed successfully with P&G's key beauty foe, L'Oreal. On his watch, Olay sales passed $1 billion, then $2 billion. For the fiscal year ended June 30, global Olay volume was up 30%.

Mr. De Cesare was also pivotal in the rapid expansion of SK-II globally. With prestige SK-II, P&G has proved it can move beyond mass marketing, instead using PR, direct marketing and in-store service.

"Many people think of global expansion as a checklist," he said in an earlier interview. "They want to tick off boxes across all the countries. That's not what we're doing [with SK-II]. We look at it as very deliberate, considered and paced."

Mr. De Cesare "rises above the [process] and bureaucracy," says Alejandro Lopez, president of Beacon, a joint venture of Publicis Groupe and Dentsu based in Tokyo.

Mr. Lopez recounts Mr. De Cesare years ago hiring the Testino brothers, boutique fashion creatives, "to look at one of the brands" Beacon was working on. "At first, my ego was bruised," he says, but Mr. De Cesare "managed the meeting in a higher ground of concepts and executions, not who or where the ideas came from. ... I came to view a competitor as an ally and have since had a new perspective of creative alliances."

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