Belgian to Replace Patricia Ithau as L’Oréal East Africa MD

L’Oréal East Africa managing director Patricia Ithau is set to leave the French make-up firm at the end of this month after a three-year stint at the helm.

Patricia Ithau is credited with growing L’Oréal business in East Africa where sales of Nice & Lovely range of beauty products accounted for two-thirds of its revenue, highlighting the lucrative nature of Kenya’s low-end cosmetics market. Photo/JEFF ANGOTE

Patricia Ithau is credited with growing L’Oréal business in East Africa where sales of Nice & Lovely range of beauty products accounted for two-thirds of its revenue, highlighting the lucrative nature of Kenya’s low-end cosmetics market. Photo/JEFF ANGOTE

Ms Ithau will be replaced on July 1 by Philippe D’Have, currently the L’Oréal business development director for sub-Saharan Africa. He is a Belgian.

Changes at the Paris-based company’s Nairobi office come a year after L’Oréal acquired the health and beauty business of Kenyan-owned Interconsumer Products, in a deal estimated at Sh3 billion.

The changes were announced by Geoff Skingsley, L’Oréal executive vice president in charge of Africa and Middle East, in an internal memo to staff.

“With Patricia leaving us in June, Philippe is managing the handover and will take over full responsibility for East Africa from July 1, reporting to me,” said Mr Skingsley in a memo seen by the Business Daily.

Ms Ithau has been overseeing regional operations for L’Oréal since it set up in Nairobi in 2011, and was instrumental in the takeover of Nice & Lovely brands from Paul Kinuthia, the brains behind Interconsumer Products.

“I resigned a while ago. I believe it’s the right time to move on. I will take a gap before engaging in a new challenge,” Ms Ithau said in an interview.

She is credited with growing L’Oréal business in East Africa where sales of Nice & Lovely range of beauty products accounted for two-thirds of its revenue, highlighting the lucrative nature of Kenya’s low-end cosmetics market.

“Her role in integrating the two teams was instrumental in the success of the acquisition, and her knowledge and management of the external parties involved in the process of finalising the take-over were critical.”

L’Oréal East Africa said it sold 40 million units of skincare, cosmetics, hair care, hair colour and hair styling products last year compared to two million products in 2012 when it only dealt with its Dark and Lovely brands in the Kenyan market.

L’Oreal said regional export markets account for 30 per cent of sales and ships the beauty products to Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Angola.

Mr D’Have has worked with L’Oréal for over 20 years and has previously served as general manager in Ukraine and Colombia. The firm is banking on Mr D’Have’s experience in the cosmetics industry to grow market share in Kenya.

– Business daily