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Unilever Prestige CEO Vasiliki Petrou to depart business

Sophie Smith
14 June 2024

Vasiliki Petrou has confirmed her departure as CEO of Unilever Prestige, the division she created a decade ago to help bring a portfolio of premium beauty brands into the company.

Petrou, who also serves as Chairwoman at CEW UK, will leave the business at the end of July to set up her own investment fund.

In a post on LinkedIn, she said: "A decade since I created the Unilever Prestige business unit, I have made the difficult decision to leave in pursuit of my dream to set up my own investment fund.

"The idea of Unilever Prestige disrupted long-held paradigms and created a new to the world playbook of premium beauty acquisitions and sustainable long-term growth. Being the Founder and CEO of Unilever Prestige has been a great honour and I’m proud of the many milestones we achieved together.

"I would like to thank Dave Lewis, Paul Polman, Alan Jope and Hein Schumacher who supported my vision for Unilever Prestige and understood the potential of this white space opportunity with modern luxury brands operating in a brand-centric model. We drove significant value creation for Unilever and the division will continue to be a key growth bet for the company."

Petrou also thanked the division's brand founders for their "passion, devotion and the unrivalled owner’s mindset", as well as their CEOs and the people who make up the wider prestige family.

"Like I have always said, I truly believe that Unilever Prestige is part of something bigger and I’m so proud of the legacy we have created together. While I have been the founder and CEO of this unique business, it is important that the commitment to the consumer remains and that you continue to honour the promise we made – to bring joy and beauty and wellness solutions to billions of people around the globe. The best is yet to come," she added.

Over the years, Unilever has added a number of global beauty brands to its prestige portfolio. Among the acquisitions is Tatcha, Hourglass, Living Proof, Murad, Dermalogica, Kate Sommerville and REN Clean Skincare, as well as the purchase of premium biotech haircare brand K18 in December last year.

Labelled as one of the fastest-growing parts of Unilever, the prestige beauty division contributed turnover of €1.2 billion in 2022. It also grew double-digits in 2023 and said growth was being driven by premium product innovations, as well as brand experiences delivered via new channels such as digital commerce.

Read's feature on the power of prestige beauty.

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