Sephora is looking to perk things up with the appointment of Martin Brok as the world’s largest beauty retailer’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
Martin was most recently President of Starbucks Inc. for Europe, Middle East and Africa. He assumes the role September 14, but according to parent company LVHM Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, plans had been in the works but delayed by the global pandemic. Martin will report to Chris de Lapuente, who has held the title of President and CEO since March 2011. Chris will remain a member of LVHM’s executive committee and will take on additional responsibilities, which have not yet been detailed.
Chris is credited with transforming Sephora over the past decade to be “one of the world’s most successful retail brands with a unique culture and a formidably strong organization,” according to LVMH Group Chairman and CEO, Bernard Arnault. “Under Chris’ leadership, Sephora has tripled sales and profits, emerging as the only truly global beauty retailer and establishing itself as the industry’s foremost innovator. Sephora is now positioned as a global beauty powerhouse with a superb omni-channel presence,” Bernard said in a statement.
With mounting competition in the U.S. and around the world, all eyes are on Sephora’s next act—especially in an environment where its signature service and sampling are challenged by COVID-19. In its favor has been strong online sales, but physical store growth will be on the front burner. In the U.S., Sephora faces continued intense competition from Ulta Beauty. Last year Ulta surpassed Sephora as Gen Z’s favorite beauty retailer in Piper Jaffray’s Teen Survey, and some experts believe Ulta’s pricing strategy will benefit it as consumers pull back on spending. To its credit, Sephora in the U.S. was the first to accept Aurora James’s “15 Percent Challenge” to dedicate 15 percent of shelf space to black-owned brands. The retailer has also been at the forefront of developing clean beauty.
Sephora has also hit success with its co-created brands through LVMH’s Kendo Beauty brand incubator. There is positive buzz around the recent promotion of Artemis Patrick to a newly created role of Executive Vice President, Global Chief Merchandising Officer—a move seen beneficial in bringing in new and exclusive brands to propel growth. Her promotion followed news that Sephora U.S. was restructuring and cutting 117 jobs but creating 133 new ones.
Martin will be tasked with creating the next chapter, Bernard said. “Martin brings extensive international leadership experience in multiple fast-paced and client-oriented businesses at a crucial moment of change for global retailing.”
That’s where his experience with not only Starbucks, but also Nike and Burger King could come into play as he seeks to find new avenues to stand out from the competition and captivate shoppers in stores and online. “He embodies all that is precious in our Sephora culture,” said Chris, listing Martin’s passion for winning, and building and nurturing people. “And [he has] a client-oriented outlook that embraces our omni-channel worldview. I look forward to working with Martin as Sephora continues its quest to become the world’s most loved beauty community.”
Sephora operates in 36 countries with 2,650 stores.