M&S hopes Estee Lauder man will bring ‘feminine-style’ to marketing

In appointing Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, the former president of high-end cosmetics and perfume business Estee Lauder, Marks and Spencer (M&S) is looking both to drive its quality credentials for its struggling clothing business and reconnect with its core female audience.

Marks and Spencer’s new marketing boss is tasked with reconnect the brand with its core female audience.

Bousquet-Chavanne, who joined from the cosmetics group just seven months ago, will be handed a broader remit of marketing and business development when he takes over from the retiring Steve Sharp later this year.

The Frenchman joined Estee Lauder in 1989 as general manager of Aramis International and later headed the company’s global operations as group president. It is his experience at executive level in managing international cosmetic brands such as Bobbi Brown, Jo Malone and La Mer, that M&S’s under-fire chief executive Marc Bolland will be hoping can breathe new life into its ailing womenswear business.

At a press conference earlier today (21 May) to announce M&S’s full year results, Bolland said Bousquet-Chavanne’s experience in managing international brands targeting women will is invaluable.

The retailer has been criticised for a perceived failure to understand its core audience in recent years as it chased after younger shoppers. Sales have struggled in a faltering economy and several marketing attempts to spark a renaissance, including celebrity endorsements and younger models, have not had the desired effect.

Bolland said: “Patrick has a background maybe some of you don’t know – he has rolled out Estee Lauder brands around the world and is someone who is so close to what, let’s say, feminine style is all about.”

Prior to joining the business Bousquet-Chavanne had been advising the M&S team to develop its YourBeauty beauty concept and range. His knowledge of the cosmetic sector will no doubt guide future marketing efforts to increase M&S’s share as it looks to identify new revenue channels. The company launched the brand last year to drive sales and claims it has delivered “strong double digit uplifts” in the 55 stores it is now available in.

By creating a new role, that combines Bousquet-Chavanne previous responsibilities of developing strategic developments across the company with marketing, it suggests the retailer wants to develop products more closely attuned to shopper insight.

Bolland told Marketing Week: “The role is a bit broader in the sense that he [Patrick] has been covering business development in his previous role. Business development for us is actually business improvement – it’s not buying companies but it’s making sure that the company keeps on producing new concepts like the beauty concept which Patrick is very much at the heart of and the new developments that we’re looking at now are coming from his side. So in fact he’s taking over the portfolio of Steve, plus looking at these business developments and new initiatives.”

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