One of the most celebrated women in beauty, Karen Fondu, is set to retire at the end of the year, ending a nearly 40-year run at L’Orèal USA.
Karen, President of L’Oréal Paris USA, joined the French beauty firm in 1979 as a sales representative for its Hair Care Division. Her rapid succession was a result of her integral role in leading L’Oréal’s growth and success in the U.S. market. Most notably, Karen was part of the management team that oversaw Maybelline’s integration into L’Oréal’s portfolio after the company acquired the brand in 1995, and subsequently catapulted it to the number one position in the U.S. mass market makeup arena. She is also credited with the strategic vision and leadership that resulted in Garnier’s rise to the top of mass beauty. In 2008, she was promoted to her current role.
L’Orèal Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Jean-Paul Agon, said, “Her strategic vision and expert knowledge of building brands and infusing them with inspiration and ambition has made her one of the most recognized and admired professionals in the beauty industry.”
In addition to her business success, Karen has dedicated herself to championing women in and outside of the workplace, and giving back to the community.
“Over the course of her career, she trained, mentored and developed several generations of talent, who have in turn gone on to have remarkable careers and contribute to L’Oréal’s success,” said Frédéric Rozé, President and CEO of L’Oréal USA. “Karen also worked tirelessly to engage the community, champion women’s empowerment and expand L’Oréal Paris’s philanthropic initiative, Women of Worth, to celebrate the individual beauty and intrinsic worth of every woman.”
As a tribute to Karen’s contributions and impressionable fingerprint on the beauty industry, Karen is being presented a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s CEW Achiever Awards, taking place October 21 at the Waldorf Astoria. Past Lifetime Achievement Award recipients include Lynne Greene (2015), Leonard A. Lauder (2014), Susan J. Kropf (2006), Jeanette Wagner (2002) and Estèe Lauder (1989).
Ikdeep Singh will replace Karen as General Manager for L’Oréal Paris USA, and report directly to Michel Brousset, President of L’Oréal USA’s Consumer Products Division. Ikdeep has been the President of L’Oréal Canada’s Consumer Products Division since July 2014, and previously worked at P&G as China General Manager overseeing all hair care brands. Under his leadership, China became the single biggest contributor to P&G’s growth.