After many years at the helm of Beiersdorf, Stephen De Loecker had now been succeeded by Vincent Warnery – effective from May 1, 2021. Warnery had been a member of the company’s executive board since 2017 and was previously responsible for the pharmacy and selective business division housing Eucerin, Hansaplast and La Prairie.
‘Great potential’ moving forward in sustainable and digital space
De Loecker would also step down from the company board on June 30, 2021.
Discussing the move, he said: “I would like to thank all employees, customers, and partners for the great cooperation over the past years. My goal was to strengthen Beiersdorf in an era of digital disruption and environmental challenges to keep the company on track for success in the long-term. I am convinced we have laid this foundation.”
Under the company’s C.A.R.E.+ strategy – a concept to develop business with ‘courage, aspiration, responsibility and empathy’ – De Loecker had advanced numerous sustainability efforts that Vincent Warnery said he looked forward to continuing.
“Beiersdorf is an outstanding company with great potential and an exceptional team,” the new CEO said.
International beauty major L'Oréal also recently re-shuffled its executive team, with Nicolas Hieronimus now CEO, also effective from May 1, 2021.
Q1 2021 organic sales rise – derma and prestige skin care particularly strong
The executive shift comes as Beiersdorf tallied up total sales of €1.9bn for the first quarter (Q1) of 2021 last week, up 6.3% organically on the previous year – taking business back to pre-crisis level. And this growth had been largely bolstered by a 16% rise in organic business in Latin America and a 6.6% rise in the Americas. Business in Europe, however, was down -0.8% for Q1.
The consumer business unit, which contained the company’s flagship Nivea brand and others like La Prairie, notched up €1.54bn in sales for the quarter, up 2.7% organically but down 2.1% nominally.
Organic sales growth was primarily driven by strong upward trends from derma brands Eucerin and Aquaphor, up 12.1% in organic sales. The company’s prestige skin care brand La Prairie that had been most significantly impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis this past year due to travel retail closures reported even stronger growth, up 17% in organic sales. This, Beiersdorf said, was due to the kickstarting of domestic travel in China and the launch of the brand onto Chinese retail platform Tmall at the beginning of the year.
“While the pandemic continued to hit sales of sun and lip care products, there was a greater demand for face and body care items,” the company said.
Globally, Nivea remained steady with an organic sales growth of 0.5% for the quarter.
Beiersdorf did not report net sales or net income for the quarter and on the topic of full-year guidance kept things broad, stating the company expected “positive sales growth” and its EBIT margin from operations to remain the same as 2020.