In a letter sent to chairman and CEO Jean-Paul Agon, Owen-Jones explains the reasons for his decision:
“The 2012 financial results were recognized by the media and the markets, the reputation of L’Oréal has strengthened, and the share price is at its highest historically… As you know, I believe that a former chairman must not indefinitely extend his presence at the board of directors…”
“I share the profound confidence that the board has in you… It seems therefore that the moment has come to complete the transition process initiated in 2006 and carried out step by step, consistently since then. On this occasion, I wish to express to the entire board, my recognition and pride for the confidence that the directors have shown me for almost 30 years,” he continues.
Sir Owen-Jones leaves the firm in a more solid position having posted double-digit growth in earnings following a strong performance in the emerging markets, prompting the company to look to the future with a great deal of positivity following its full-year 2012 results.
Compared with the market average and its leading rivals globally, L’Oréal has performed very well, as Unilever’s personal care division also posted double-digit increases; whilst Procter & Gamble lagged slightly behind based on fourth quarter results for its beauty and grooming division.
According to the 2012 results, the French firm saw net profit rose by 17.6 per cent last year to €2.87 billion and announced that it expects performance to continue to improve in 2013.
“We are facing the future with optimism and confidence,” CEO Jean-Paul Agon said in a statement. “The group is thus well prepared to outperform the market in 2013, and to achieve another year of sales and profit growth.”
Regret and respect
On receiving the news from Owen-Jones, Agon and the board of directors have expressed their regret at the decision, while respecting the reasons behind it.
Agon adds: “I wish to express personally and in the name of the board our emotion following your decision and our recognition for your exceptional contribution throughout the past 30 years which has driven the development and remarkable success of L’Oréal.”
The resignation of Owen-Jones will be effective following the next Annual General Meeting held on Friday 26 April 2013.
He started his tenure at the French firm as a sales representative in 1969, selling Dop shampoo in Normandy.
In 1988, he was appointed chairman and CEO of L'Oréal, at age 42, and helped the company widen its market; turning it from an almost entirely Europe-based organization to sell its products in countries around the world.
Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones resigned as executive chairman in 2011, staying on as honorary president, until this announcement.