Sally Beauty appoints new CEO
- Sally Beauty announced on Wednesday that Denise Paulonis will be CEO effective October 1, according to a company press release.
- Current CEO Chris Brickman will step down from this role and step down from the board on September 30. He will then serve as a consultant until March 31, 2022, to help support the succession transition.
- Paulonis has served on the company’s board of directors since 2018. She was most recently CFO of Sprouts Farmers Market and is leaving this position after a little over 18 months with the company. Paulonis has also worked at The Michaels Companies in a variety of roles, including CFO. Previously, she held executive positions at McKinsey & Company, PepsiCo and Bank of America.
After seven years as CEO, Brickman is stepping down as Paulonis moves from a board member role to a senior executive.
“This leadership transition is the result of the Board of Directors and Mr. Brickman’s deliberate and collaborative approach to succession planning,” the company said in its press release announcing the change.
During his tenure with the company, Brickman updated the company’s loyalty program, invested in technology and strengthened the digital capabilities of the beauty supplier, according to Robert McMaster, Chairman of the Board of administration of the company. “As the company emerges from the hard work of its transformation, the board of directors and Chris agree that the time has come for a change of direction,” McMaster said in a statement.
The succession is orderly and planned, according to an analyst note from Cowen led by Oliver Chen. “We believe Denise Paulonis will be supported by enhanced and solid talent, and is known as a strong strategic thinker and experienced CFO of a public company,” the analysts wrote. “Our point of view is that in-store innovation and a more connected digital + physical experience are very important priorities.”
Over the past few years, Sally Beauty has focused on this digital transformation. At early 2020, the retailer announced a new vice president of e-commerce and a new vice president of digital products to help with its redesign. The retailer also updated its mobile application and launched a social influence program as part of a major rebranding. This too extended its AI testing technology to retail stores and its application.
These tactics can be important when the retailer commits to growing its younger consumer base. “Ms. Paulonis will face an important task of retaining and engaging many attractive new Gen Z and Millennials customers who are embracing do-it-yourself hair culture and color innovation,” Cowen analysts wrote in an emailed statement.
The retailer has seen financial progress due in part to these efforts. While the third trimester, the company reported net sales of over $ 1 billion, up 45% year on year and 5% from the same period in 2019. In the third quarter, global e-commerce sales rose at $ 71 million, or 7% of net sales. The retailer also reported net profit of $ 76.2 million, up from a loss of $ 23.5 million in the same quarter last year.