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2 Sep

David Greenberg on Leading L’Oréal USA Forward – WWD

“Oh, I wasn’t expecting that one,” said David Greenberg, chief executive officer of L’Oréal USA and president of North America zone, when asked about his leadership style.

On the heels of his twenty ninth anniversary at L’Oréal, working across markets, divisions and types, how is he approaching his latest title?

“What I do know is that at the center of L’Oréal is product innovation, excitement, creating desirable brands,” he went on. “And what I actually think my role is, because the CEO of L’Oréal USA, is to nurture that, to assist this company within the U.S., which can also be the house to many brands within the group.”

About 35 beauty brands total, with L’Oréal USA — L’Oréal Group’s largest subsidiary — generating greater than $8 billion in sales annually, in keeping with the corporate.

Greenberg is a L’Oréal veteran. He succeeded Stéphane Rinderknech, who left the corporate in February to move up LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s hotel division. Greenberg, an American, follows an extended list of Frenchmen within the role. He was most recently president of L’Oréal Skilled Products Division in North America, and has been president of Maybelline Latest York, Garnier and Essie in L’Oréal’s Consumer Products Division. He also directed marketing for the L’Oréal Paris brand.

“It’s essentially the most dynamic, essentially the most competitive and essentially the most diverse country within the planet,” he said of the U.S. “So, it’s a spot also where we are able to showcase best practices in beauty and help the group in all parts of the world be much more successful. My role is to foster all of that to create the proper culture and climate of openness, of transparency, of simplicity, of collaboration and of positive spirit.”

The chief was inside L’Oréal USA’s latest West Coast hub — marking the corporate’s first headquarters outside Latest York City. Officially opened on Aug. 23 at 888 North Douglas Street in El Segundo, Calif., the space unites NYX Skilled Makeup, Urban Decay, Pulp Riot and Youth to the People under one roof. Sitting on a 25-acre campus, it’s greater than 100,000 square feet of office and communal spaces. It was developed by Hackman Capital Partners and designed by Blitz.

“We were so fortunate to search out this constructing,” said Carol Hamilton, group president of acquisitions for L’Oréal USA, revealing it was once an aerospace facility.

“The general public who worked on this constructing were women, because the lads were fighting the wars,” continued Hamilton, who’s been at L’Oréal for 38 years. “They built the planes for the lads to fly. And so, it’s a source of great pride for L’Oréal that that is one in all the places where women were emancipated to work. It’s very meaningful to us. And we didn’t know that until after we’d signed the lease. It was an excellent discovery for us. And we feature it on that poster there.”

She pointed to aircraft imagery, steps away from the major entrance — a vivid, open and airy lobby. A L’Oréal ad campaign is prominently displayed near fresh plants and 4 25-foot embalmed palm trees; the colours are a warm, golden hue, recalling the California sunset. To the proper is a everlasting store, offering special discounts to employees. (“Every division, every product and each function is represented here,” said Hamilton. “Isn’t that great?”) And within the background hang the words “Café California,” a barista and natural juice bar.

Keeping the unique structure and wood, with a 45-foot-tall ceiling, the design is a “river concept,” Hamilton continued. “You possibly can see all of the approach to the top of the constructing. It creates a flow of movement and spaces, where community gathers. We thought that was so essential, with people coming back to work. They need to come back back to socialize, to not be isolated into separate offices. That was one in all the essential elements.”

There’s a major gathering area with seating, which results in the upstairs — equally open and airy office spaces. NYX Skilled Makeup is on one side while Urban Decay is on one other. Further back, it’s Pulp Riot and Youth to the People, adjoining to an empty section ready for the subsequent acquisition.

The layout is harking back to start-up culture, with clear glass partitions as barriers. (It’s also dog friendly, with a gym, solar panels, stuffed with recycling bins and healthy food options on the lunch menu.)

“With the ability to see activity happening,” Hamilton said of the importance of transparency. “We’re still learning and balancing people’s desire for privacy and confidentiality with keeping all the things open.”

Unsurprisingly, the choice was a subject of conversation.

“We call them neighborhoods without boundaries,” Hamilton added. “But [we] also desired to still create and maintain brand identity, because each of the brands got here from a unique office, they usually were really afraid of losing their identity. That was a balancing act.”

Malena Higuera, Urban Decay’s general manager, admitted the openness between brands created a little bit of consternation at first. “I’ll be open about that. Change at all times comes with some trepidation.”

“Obviously, there’s an adjustment,” added Yann Joffredo, global president of NYX Skilled Makeup. “Individuals are creatures of habits.”

But employees are finding their rhythm, he added, discovering nooks for privacy when needed, and after working from home all this time amid COVID-19, they’re craving in-person interactions.

Agreeing, Higuera said collaborating across brands will help productivity. “For me, this represents such a latest chapter for the brand, for the team. Every intention of this space was built with foresight for the longer term and work for the longer term….It leaves me with a number of real good energy for what I believe goes to come back out of this, out of those partitions…We’re a motley crew of brands which can be boldly different and stand for something, and yet, by coming together, we get up taller.”

Greenberg shares similar thoughts.

“Once I go searching, and I see the collaboration, and I see the conversations happening, I see the sharing,” he said. (There are content studios for every brand.) “And I see people from different brands talking to one another. I see a hairdresser talking to a makeup artist, they usually’ve never met before and never would have met before. Once I see all of that occuring, I can’t help but feel that that’s precisely the spark that creates great ideas. And from there amazing things can occur. So I’m optimistic that that is going to be an engine of growth for us, that it’s going to essentially help us.”

It’s been a successful first half of the yr for L’Oréal, with sales increasing by 20.9 percent, reaching 18.36 billion euros. In North America, sales grew by a reported 23.5 percent.

“Every brand here played a very important part, without query,” Greenberg said of West Coast brands, singling out NYX Skilled Makeup as a very strong performer. “We grew ahead of the market in every category.”

Positioned within the outskirts of Los Angeles, the brand new L’Oréal USA hub is well positioned; it’s between Silicon Valley and Silicon Beach, miles from Los Angeles International Airport — in proximity to ports with shipments coming from Asia.

By investing in California, L’Oréal is investing in the longer term of beauty, Joffredo said. It’s the land of influencers — the brand new celebrities — home of Hollywood, in addition to sustainability and wellness.

“We are inclined to say the values of California are the values of this next generation,” Joffredo said. “It’s good to be at the middle of the culture change. It was Latest York for some time. I don’t wish to be that person, but Latest York lost it a little bit bit. I believe straight away it’s happening in Cali, and that is where we wish to be….That is where the party goes.”

Being on the West Coast is “a mirrored image of a vision of beauty, a voice of beauty that’s more optimistic, more colourful, vibrant, more diverse,” he continued. “That shows in all places here.”

“We have now a few of the perfect skilled influencers on the West Coast, and most of our artists actually live out here,” said Leslie Marino, president of Skilled Products Division. She oversees L’Oréal’s Skilled Products Academy — the hairdressing school — which now has its first West Coast location, uniting all nine L’Oréal skilled hair care brands.

“I find it to be extremely modern,” she said. “That is the brand new way of working. That is what it looks like. That is what the brand new workplace looks like on this latest, hybrid world.”

Adapting the 3-2 hybrid work model, employees — about 500 in total (it’s currently at 55 percent occupancy) — are asked to be in-person three days per week.

“I’ve at all times felt that being a part of L’Oréal is basically leaving an imprint on the world,” Greenberg said. “Our brands are very cherished, they’re very public. There’s an infinite amount of pride at L’Oréal, in working here and dealing on our brands….We’ve moved into latest areas in recent times. From sustainability and variety, inclusion to green sciences and wonder tech. We’re an organization that’s as equally a tech company as a beauty company. We’re experimenting. We’re piloting. We’re investing in enterprise capital, acquiring brands. So, all these items make for an unbelievable, wealthy ecosystem stuffed with exciting opportunities. My goal is that each one of our employees feel that excitement and feel connected to the mission of the corporate.”

How will L’Oréal USA proceed to include digital into different elements of the business?

“It’s now fully integrated, it’s fundamental,” he said. “We’ve been on the journey of information, big data, customized data, personalization, now for various years. So, we’re really harnessing data for insights. We’re investing in technology for AI, for predictability and projections, for personalization. We’re attempting to help consumers find the proper products for them through the increased knowledge of their needs, after which helping them through education and thru clearer and more personalized communication to make the proper selections for them. So, it’s amazing from the skilled to the patron, how well that may work.”

Internally, he revealed they’ve modified their vocabulary. Employees at the moment are known as residents — a detail Hamilton shared as well.

“Employees to me is a transaction,” she said. “It’s cold. But residents, there’s a way of elegance to it and caring about it. We’re really trying to change, take out corporate talk and make it as personal as possible.”

Nearing the top of the tour, she proudly presents the “cabana.”

“[It’s] where we are going to have a good time successes, announce major events and principally, party,” she said.

The West Coast hub has been an extended time coming, said Greenberg, after realizing the corporate wasn’t “harnessing the true experience of California, that the brands weren’t necessarily fully benefiting from all the resources of L’Oréal.”

And now that it’s complete, its construction and latest company approach will influence other L’Oréal locations, he said: “From this, we’ll be inspired now to take a look at our Latest York space in another way. We’ll see what that finally ends up being, but I can assure you, it can change.”

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