Merit taps industry vet as CEO

Merit Beauty is kicking off the new year with fresh leadership.

The three-year-old beauty brand has tapped Philippe Pinatel to serve as its next CEO, succeeding founder Katherine Power. Power will remain chairperson of Merit, according to details emailed to Retail Dive.

Pinatel holds 25 years of experience in the beauty industry, specializing in high-growth, omnichannel brands. Most recently Pinatel served as global president of MAC Cosmetics and has also held leadership roles at Sephora, Guerlain and Birchbox.

“I am honored to join Merit Beauty and work alongside such a talented team,” Pinatel said in a statement. “Katherine has built an extraordinary brand that has quickly cemented itself as a leader in the modern beauty landscape, in large part due to its remarkably engaged and differentiated consumer base. I am excited to contribute to its ongoing success and continue to innovate, create, and elevate the beauty experience for our customers.”

Over the past three years, Merit said it has become profitable on an EBITDA basis and notched over $100 million in omnichannel retail sales last year. The minimalist beauty brand also said that 80% of its products — which include the Minimalist Complexion Stick, Flush Balm and Solo Shadow — have become best sellers at Sephora within the retailer’s “clean” category. The Solo Shadow eyeshadow product in particular generated over $1 million in sales within two weeks of its launch.

The CEO appointment comes as other brands experience C-suite changes. Rhode, the beauty brand founded by Hailey Bieber, this week announced that Nick Vlahos, who formerly served as The Honest Co.’s CEO, has been appointed chief executive officer. Last month, Beyond Yoga tapped Old Navy and Athleta vet Nancy Green to serve as its next CEO, and Everlane lost CEO Andrea O’Donnell, who moved to a different role at Designer Brands. Casper in January also replaced its CEO with former Purple executive Joe Megibow.

Pinatel’s appointment also represents a trend more DTC brands are having to address as they seek scale: Replacing founders with more seasoned executives. Brooklinen in October named Billy May, former chief customer officer at Urban Outfitters’ parent company URBN, to serve as its CEO, replacing co-founder Rich Fulop. And in August, Grove Collaborative co-founder Stuart Landesberg stepped down from the chief executive role, succeeded by Jeff Yurcisin, the former CEO at Zulily and Shopbop.

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