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Innovation Takes The Spotlight at CEW Newsmaker Forum

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: September 20, 2012

Left to right, Renato Semerari, president, Coty Beauty; Catherine Walsh, senior vice president of American Fragrances, Coty Prestige; and Michele Scannavini, CEO, Coty, at CEW's September 2012 Newsmaker Forum.

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On culture, he stated, “Our culture is very important. I’m fortunate and proud to work with extremely talented people that are used to taking risks and doing the job. One of my most important tasks is to provide the best environment and freedom for them to do their best. So, talking about talent and great visionaries leads me to introduce Catherine Walsh and Renato Semerari.

Panelists Discuss Innovation

Jill Scalamandre, chairperson, CEW moderated the panel, providing background on the evening’s guest speakers. Renato Semerari, as president of Coty Beauty, manages all Coty brands available in mass distribution in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. His responsibilities include seeking new business ventures and collaborations, as well as overseeing the development and expansion of the portfolio. He also serves on the executive committee of Coty Inc. Prior to his appointment in 2009, he served as president and CEO of Sephora Europe, where he was responsible for 12 subsidiaries and an extensive store network while overseeing Sephora’s growth and expansion.

Catherine Walsh is the senior vice president of American fragrances, overseeing the Coty Prestige Portfolio of brands, including Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Jennifer Lopez, Vera Wang and Balenciaga. She is responsible for the company’s designer and celebrity fragrance portfolio, and is an architect of Coty Prestige’s evolution as an industry trailblazer, noted for her foresight in predicting the next trend in the category.

Like Coty’s tagline (Faster, Further, Freer), the portfolio demonstrates the brand diversity of Coty, and the apt emphasis of the evening’s conversation on innovation. From Calvin Klein Euphoria, to Cool Water Davidoff, Chloe, Daisy, Truth or Dare, Jennifer Lopez, Nautica Fragrances, Rimmel London, Lady Gaga, Playboy, OPI and Adidas, the portfolio is indeed extensive and varied.

While celebrity is apparently strong, Scalamandre noted that the percentage of Coty’s fragrance business devoted to celebrity is 6%, while 53% of the entire portfolio is devoted to the fragrance business. Semerari spoke to the question of innovation in the culture of the company. “Innovation is very important in the beauty industry. Ten years ago, we were like dwarfs with the ambition of playing in the NBA. The others had bigger muscles and they were playing with us. For us, it’s a bit like behaving like a start-up everyday. I think we give ourselves the possibility to dare a bit more.”