At Coty, Camillo Pane is building the beauty company of the future

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

At Coty, Camillo Pane is building the beauty company of the future
Early this month, a sold-out CEW Newsmaker Forum featured Pane in conversation with Jenny B. Fine, executive beauty editor of WWD. Over the course of the evening, Coty’s CEO discussed his business strategy for the multinational, his vision for the company’s newest brands, and the likelihood of gender parity at the executive level.

The event came just one year after Coty acquired the P&G beauty business​. And in her introductory remarks for the evening, CEW president Carlotta Jacobson noted that Camillo Pane and his team are now hard at work, “developing what will be the company of the future.”

Business strategy

The acquisition was an opportunity to reinvent Coty’s corporate culture. As Pane describes it, Coty is now “acting like a startup,” ​has taken on a “challenger mentality,” ​and is out to “attract people [to] an environment where you can bring your ideas…a conversation where there are no bad ideas, no fear of failure.”

Pane pointed to a fundamental shift that’s informing the company’s operations strategy. “Business and the beauty industry [in particular] used to have the luxury of doing something sequentially,” ​he says. “Those days are gone.”

“Small companies have speed at the core of how they are built,” ​observes Pane, adding, “for us it has to be the same.”

Having spent much of his career in consumer health, homecare, and other industries, Pane sees an unprecedented passion and energy in the beauty industry. Leveraging that and recognizing what’s expected of business at large these days, he’s promoting a new company culture at Coty: Own it. And, Drive it.

Brand vision

Coty seems to have big plans for many of the brands that the company picked up in the P&G deal. “We will bring back these brands to the place where they belong,” ​says Pane.

Some of the changes will be in the form of branding and marketing initiatives. CoverGirl is a case in point. Coty announced a new tagline and rebranding of the color cosmetics brand just last month.​ As Pane tells it, this is only the beginning; the CoverGirl rebrand, he says “will encompass more.”

And the Sally Hansen brand has been revitalized​ as well with a campaign linking the brand more closely to its namesake, as Cosmetics Design reported. And Pane also holds out the launch of Gucci Bloom early this year as an example of what Coty can do to liberate and invigorate brands.  

Coty has some new ideas for retail too. Shannon Curtin, senior vice president of its new Consumer Beauty division here in North America, spearheaded Coty’s recent partnership with the Story concept shop​. Pane describes the project as a way to “display some of our brands in a more experiential way….and to show retailers a better way of displaying mass market brands.” 

Gender parity

This spring Sabine Chalmers joined Coty’s board of directors​, as Cosmetics Design reported. She is the board’s first woman member.

When asked about the “lack of diversity and gender parity at the corporate level,” ​Pane carefully reframed the issue, saying, “I see diversity as breadth of experience.” ​And he went on to propose that “we have to drive this in society and in the business environment.”

Pane shared some quick stats on the number of women in the company’s workforce: 56% of Coty employees are women and 42% of the company’s top 600 leaders are women. He concluded his remarks on the topic, acknowledging that “on the executive committee it’s not the same.” 

Indeed, in the recent (inaugural) women’s issue of Beauty Inc., edited by Jenny B. Fine, data on  gender diversity at top beauty manufacturers showed that Coty’s executive committee is only 12% women, or rather one of the eight executive committee members is a woman: Sylvie Moreau president of the company’s $1.8bn professional beauty division.

Pane did add (after conceding that “on the executive committee it’s not the same”) ​he “will make that a priority for the company.”

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