Gucci Parent Kering Taps Estée Lauder Executive for Beauty Push

Gucci Parent Kering Taps Estée Lauder Executive for Beauty Push

PARIS—Gucci owner

Kering SA

KER 0.03%

has tapped a senior

Estée Lauder

EL -4.41%

Cos. executive to lead a new beauty division, as the luxury giant looks to expand in cosmetics and perfumes.

Raffaella Cornaggia will help develop beauty offerings for brands including Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen. Kering said the Italian national would bring strong experience to a strategically important area. 

Ms. Cornaggia was most recently responsible for business outside of the U.S. and Canada for the Estée Lauder and Aerin brands. She began her career at

L’Oréal SA,

LRLCY 0.06%

where she held various roles in Italy and France, before working on Chanel’s beauty business. 

The appointment comes as luxury goods companies move to take back full control of the brands they own. A number of major fashion groups like Kering have typically licensed their brands for beauty products to third parties, rather than directly run beauty operations themselves. That is changing as companies seek to capitalize on a growing business.

Kering said the creation of its new beauty division, called Kering Beauté, would enable the company to support its brands in product areas that were a “natural extension of their universe.”

“We are building this new area of expertise within our group to ensure that our brands can fulfill their potential in this category,” said

Jean-François Palus,

Kering’s group managing director.

For now, Kering Beauté’s business excludes the Gucci brand, whose beauty license is currently held by

Coty Inc.

It also excludes beauty products under the YSL brand, which are owned by L’Oréal.

Sales of beauty products rebounded directly after the pandemic, with shoppers showing willingness to pay up to look and smell good. More recently, though, inflation and concerns about a potential recession have spurred U.S. retailers to tighten their inventory.

Kering last year explored the possibility of buying Tom Ford, which has a valuable beauty business, before the brand was bought by Estée Lauder. 

Kering executives hope the new beauty division will echo the success of its eyewear unit, created in 2014. The conglomerate said last summer it would target annual revenue equivalent to around $2.2 billion from that unit in the medium term.

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The latest announcement came after Gucci appointed Sabato De Sarno as its new creative director last week, seeking to reinvigorate its largest brand after rapid growth petered out. Gucci’s slowdown has dragged Kering shares down over the past year, while the stocks of competitors such as LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE and

Hermes International

RMS 0.17%

SCA have risen. 

Luxury goods companies have been riding a boom in sales in recent years that has largely defied the various challenges to the global economy, such as rising inflation, supply-chain issues and the war in Ukraine. 

One weak spot of late has been disruption in China, a major market for luxury goods. But with Beijing loosening Covid-19-related restrictions, executives are counting on a bounceback in demand from Chinese shoppers at home and abroad, as growth shows signs of easing elsewhere.

Kering’s CEO

François-Henri Pinault

was in China this week, where he visited stores and met with local government officials and landlords. Mr. Pinault was accompanied by Saint Laurent CEO

Francesca Bellettini

and Balenciaga CEO Cédric Charbit, with the trip taking him to cities including Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu and Nanjing. 

Write to Nick Kostov at

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Author: Shirley