Makeover for a Cosmetics Unit

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When Anne Martin came to Procter & Gamble Co.'s cosmetics unit in 1995 as marketing director for Cover Girl, it wasn't a plum assignment. Cosmetics had been losing market share since P&G entered the business in the 1980s. The Baltimore area unit could be a hard place to be noticed.

But Ms. Martin, 40, wasn't the typical P&Ger. Quebec-born and educated, she joined P&G in Toronto, where management, budgets and market shares were leaner than for peers in Cincinnati.

Turnaround mission
After a stint in the Cincinnati personal-care business, Ms. Martin went to Maryland on a turnaround mission. She began a systematic Cover Girl makeover, working on re-establishing brand equity, and launching new nail and lip color products and redesigning store displays for easier shopping.

"Only when we had those fundamentals fixed," she says, "did the holistic marketing and great technology all come together to really have a significant positive impact."

Now manager of global cosmetics marketing, Ms. Martin has presided over eight straight quarters of share growth for Cover Girl and three for Max Factor.

Quality vs. quantity
Married with sons ages 11 and 3, Ms. Martin feels the tug of home vs. professional life, particularly with her duties having expanded to global dimensions in the past year. "I have learned over the years the notion of quality vs. quantity [of time]," she says.

With Chairman-CEO A.G. Lafley identifying beauty care as a growth engine, cosmetics' stock is on the rise. Jim Gingrich, analyst with Alliance Capital Management's Sanford C. Bernstein, notes a pattern in Mr. Lafley elevating executives in places where P&G is an underdog. People like Ms. Martin.

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