Anyone in beauty thinking Procter & Gamble has lost its beauty edge hasn’t met Deb Henretta.
Deb, who was named P&G Group President Global Beauty in May, made her debut to the beauty press Wednesday morning at the firm’s annual Vision House media event, where she addressed hundreds of beauty editors on the top innovations planned for CoverGirl, Olay, Pantene and other brands in 2013. Top P&G executives attending the four-and-a-half hour event at Manhattan’s Apella included Esi Eggleston Bracey, Vice President and General Manager CoverGirl Cosmetics; Walter Geiger, VP GM North America Hair Care and Joe Acuri, Vice President NA Beauty Care. P&G’s Global Creative Design Director, Pat McGrath, was also on hand to discuss upcoming makeup trends and her collaboration on several new products.
To kick off the event, Deb took the podium and detailed her 28-year career at P&G, from her start in fabric care; the turnaround she later implemented at Pampers where she transformed the functionally-positioned brand to one that “saw the world from the eyes of a baby”; to her move to Asia almost eight years ago where she oversaw P&G’s entire portfolio of brands for the region. There she learned how “deeply beauty involved” the Asian woman is and how developed markets, such as the U.S., can tap into the rush of beauty trends and innovation coming from there.
“Procter & Gamble’s Asia portfolio is growing in the double digits. Admittedly there’s been less than stellar growth in other regions,” she said.
Deb also clarified that P&G’s Global Skin Care Unit has moved to Singapore, and that Global Beauty Care overall is still based in Cincinnati, where she is now based. P&G’s three other global beauty business units include Global Cosmetics, which is based out of Geneva and Hunt Valley, MD; and Personal Care and Antiperspirant/Deodorant, both of which are based out of Cincinnati.
Asia, Deb continued, has really grasped the power of digital, “leapfrogging from hardwires and computers to the digital and mobile worlds. We have a lot to learn from these trends and from the youth of society there. In P&G’s Asia unit, one out of every two employees is of Generation Y.”
Deb, who joked that P&G has indeed made some mistakes—she pointed out Olay Cosmetics as an example—also outlined how P&G will launch innovative beauty products in the future: listen to what the consumer wants to develop new science and innovation; get more involved in meeting unarticulated needs and base new launches on real scientific advancement, not beauty puffery.