Death of founder makes Clarins future unclear

By Louise Prance

- Last updated on GMT

The future of France based cosmetics firm Clarins has come under
scrutiny following the recent death of founder and chairman of the
company, Jacques Courtin-Clarins.

The death comes 50 years after Courtin-Clarins founded Clarins and has led to speculation regarding the leadership of the company and its planned acquisitions. As share prices rocket, many industry insiders have begun to question how the independent cosmetics group will fare now its creator is no longer around to oversee the day-to-day running of the company - despite Courin-Clarins actually owning less than 0.4 per cent of the group individually. The group said this week that Alain Ferri, the company's vice-chairman will head the supervisory board until a new member is appointed, however, it is uncertain who the new permanent chairman will be. Despite worries regarding who will take over the helm, main control of the company still lies firmly in the hands of the Clarins family, with Courtin-Clarins having handed over operational management to his eldest son in 2000, whilst making his other son deputy manager. Indeed, the family owns over 65 per cent of its capital and 75 per cent of voting rights - a strong indication that the company will continue with the humanitarian work that the French cosmetics group has become renowned for. The company was amongst the first to heavily promote natural and organic cosmetic products - which is now one of the leading and most lucrative trends within the industry. Courtin-Clarins began in skin care by providing options for post-operative scarring. However, it was his interest in plant-based formulations - that he tested on himself - that pushed the company forward as a leader and innovator in the naturals cosmetics market. The company portfolio consists of well-known products such as Azzaro, Thierry Mugler, with the company also extending into the male grooming market with the Clarins Men range. A recent report by Organic Monitor, estimated that the European market for natural and organic cosmetic products is currently growing at 20 per cent a year, and set to surpass a value of €1bn.

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