Sephora North America is succession planning.
Artemis Patrick has been named president of the retailer, effective Oct. 2, taking over the title from Jean-André Rougeot, the current president and chief executive officer, who has revealed he will retire next April.
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At that time, Patrick, who is currently Sephora’s global chief merchandising officer, will succeed him as CEO of Sephora North America. She will be the first woman to lead the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned retailer, which is the largest prestige beauty player in the U.S. In her new role, Patrick will report to Guillaume Motte, president and CEO of Sephora’s global business.
Priya Venkatesh, currently senior vice president of global merchandising, will step into the global chief merchant role on Oct. 2, joining Sephora’s global leadership team and also reporting to Motte.
Additionally, Alexis Rollier, currently global chief operations officer, will oversee the Latin America region in addition to his current duties, effective Jan. 1.
Patrick has been with Sephora since 2006, when she joined as director of e-commerce merchandising. Known in the beauty industry as the consummate brand whisperer, she has been a key architect of Sephora’s rise in the U.S., and the region has become Sephora’s largest worldwide.
According to industry sources, globally Sephora sped past the 12 billion euro sales mark in 2022, and is on pace to achieve its goal of 20 billion euros over the coming years. Sources estimate that Sephora North America has the potential to drive $10 billion in sales.
“Since she joined Sephora, both in North America and global roles, Artemis has helped shape some of our most breakthrough category and product leadership initiatives to date,” said Motte, in an internal statement obtained by WWD. Among those, he cited inclusive foundation assortments, the expansion of the textured hair category, clean beauty and indie fragrances.
Patrick is highly lauded by beauty insiders for her deep connection with brand founders and her innate understanding of consumer desires, which has enabled her to not just capitalize on current trends, but create them.
“Artemis is a person who is very curious — about people, products, brands,” Laura Slatkin, the founder and chairman of Next, told Beauty Inc last year when Patrick was honored by the Fragrance Foundation. “She listens, she is interested and she is fearless. She doesn’t hesitate to act on an idea. She knows how to dive into a concept and she believes in what she’s doing.”
Beauty insiders applauded the announcement while sending kudos to Rougeot. “Jean-André did a great job,” said Carol Hamilton, group president of acquisitions and West Coast Headquarters at L’Oréal USA. “The entire industry should celebrate Artemis’s promotion. Artemis is so smart and so deserving. She has an incredible leadership style that brings out the best in everyone.”
“This appointment is a tribute to her vision, to the fact that she is a true connoisseur of beauty,” said Vasiliki Petrou, group CEO of Unilever Prestige. “Artemis is very human, very personable. She always smiles and she is kind. This is a tribute to the fact that you can be kind and successful. It is a recognition of top female qualities in business, too.”
“I’m genuinely excited for Artemis to step into this role,” said Colin Walsh, CEO of P&G Specialty Beauty, Ouai and Tula. “She’s been an outstanding partner over the years: always close to our brands and business, and fantastically passionate about beauty. In anything she’s done, Artemis clearly knows what success looks like for the industry, for the brands, and for Sephora’s shoppers.”
Under Rougeot, who took the reins in 2019 after 12 years as CEO of Benefit Cosmetics, Sephora has deftly navigated the landscape. During his tenure Sephora has solidified its position as the leading e-commerce player in beauty, shifted to a multichannel mindset that enables seamless transactions between online and off, exponentially grown its Beauty Insider loyalty program and introduced a comprehensive plan around inclusivity that is committed to achieving equity across all aspects of the business. Sephora exited its relationship with JCPenney and rolled out a partnership with Kohl’s, with 200 locations opening the first year and another 400 slated to open this year. It will also debut on Zappos.com, which is owned by Amazon, in the fourth quarter of this year.
“The time has not yet come to say goodbye to Jean-André as he remains the business leader and continues to drive the North American business to even greater heights until he retires,” said Motte. “Thanks to his inspirational, passionate leadership, beauty and retail expertise, and purpose-driven vision, the region is now stronger than ever, delivering all-time record sales, and gaining market share.”
Patrick will take the reins at a time of buoyancy for the prestige beauty industry in the U.S., with Circana reporting first-half sales increased 15 percent year-over-year. But the competition in the specialty channel is equally as fierce, with Ulta Beauty and Sephora vying for relevance with the hotly contested Gen Z consumer, amidst an uncertain and volatile economic backdrop.
Hamilton said that Patrick’s longevity at the company should serve Sephora well, particularly at a time when the markets are in flux. “We all need to capitalize on our experience to bring beauty to the next level. We need the smartest people at the top of their games running these companies,” said Hamilton.
“We’re at an inflection point right now,” she continued. “The indie world, which has been such a specialty of Sephora’s, is going to go through some major changes given the shifts in the financial markets. It’s going to be much harder for founder-led brands to get investment now, so the selection of those brands that drive so much consumer interest into Sephora is going to become more complicated, and is going to require some studying and new thought.”
In addition to her understanding of the brand landscape, focusing on the evolving retail landscape is also going to be key. “Consistency of education, service and experience is very high in importance,” said Petrou. “Ultimately, luxury needs to stand strong as luxury and stores need to provide personalized experience and education, flawless execution and content — otherwise why do you call them luxury? We need to keep reinventing Sephora to stay two steps ahead.”
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