Unilever Prestige CEO Vasiliki Petrou to leave company

Vasiliki Petrou

Unilever Prestige’s CEO Vasiliki Petrou is to leave the company at the end of July. In a note, she stated that she will start her own investment fund. A successor to Petrou has not been named.  

Petrou created the Unilever Prestige division 10 years ago and built a portfolio of brands through a series of acquisitions.

Unilever Prestige now counts a total of 10 brands and does sales of around €1.4bn; around 60% of its business is done in the US. The division’s aim is reach €3bn in sales, primarily through a mix of acquisitions and international expansion, especially in markets such as China.

Petrou is known for having a flair for identifying emerging growth segments and made acquisitions in some of the market’s most lucrative sectors today, such as dermatological and doctor-based skincare with Dermalogica, or in prestige haircare with K18 and Living Proof.

This was in addition to the purchase of brands that tap into key consumer demands, such as Paula’s Choice, which champions ingredient transparency.

Both Dermalogica and Paula’s Choice have been earmarked by the Unilever group as two of its 30 ‘power brands’ which account for 75% of total turnover.

Prestige beauty has been a bright spot for Unilever. While the group as a whole has been looking to redress its lackluster performance and unveiled a strategy aimed at turning around the business last October led by new CEO Hein Schumacher, the prestige beauty division has seen more than 12 consecutive quarters of double-digit growth.