Top 100 Brand in The World – Rank no.39 – L’Oréal – France
|Headquarters||Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine, France|
|Key people||Jean-Paul Agon (Chairman andCEO), Liliane Bettencourt (Non-executive director and major shareholder)|
|Products||Cosmetics and beauty products|
|Revenue||€22.46 billion (2012)|
|Operating income||€3.697 billion (2012)|
|Profit||€2.868 billion (2012)|
|Total assets||€29.53 billion (end 2012)|
|Total equity||€20.94 billion (end 2012)|
|Employees||72,640 (end 2012)|
|Subsidiaries||The Body Shop|
The L’Oréal Group is the world’s largest cosmetics and beauty company. With its registered office in Paris and head office in the Paris suburb of Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine, France, it has developed activities in the field of cosmetics. Concentrating on hair colour,skin care, sun protection, make-up, perfumes and hair care, the company is active in the dermatological, tissue engineering andpharmaceutical fields and is the top nanotechnology patent-holder in the United States.
On 31 July 1919, Schueller registered his company, the Société Française de Teintures Inoffensives pour Cheveux (Safe Hair Dye Company of France). The guiding principles of the company, which eventually became L’Oréal, were research and innovation in the field of beauty.
In 1920, the company employed three chemists. By 1950, the teams were 100 strong; that number reached 1,000 by 1984 and is nearly 2,000 today.
L’Oréal got its start in the hair-color business, but the company soon branched out into other cleansing and beauty products. L’Oréal currently markets over 500 brands and many thousands of individual products in all sectors of the beauty business: hair colour, permanents, hair styling, body and skin care, cleansers, makeup and fragrances. The company’s products are found in a wide variety of distribution channels, from hair salons and perfumeries to hyper – and supermarkets, health/beauty outlets, pharmacies and direct mail.
L’Oréal has six worldwide research and development centres: two in France: Aulnay and Chevilly; one in the U.S.: Clark, New Jersey; one in Japan: Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture; in 2005 one was established in Shanghai, China, and one in India. A future facility in the US will be in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey.
L’Oréal purchased Synthélabo in 1973 to pursue its ambitions in the pharmaceutical field. Synthélabo merged with Sanofi in 1999 to become Sanofi-Synthélabo. Sanofi-Synthélabo merged with Aventis in 2004 to become Sanofi-Aventis.
L’Oréal’s famous advertising slogan is “Because I’m worth it”. In the mid 2000s, this was replaced by “Because you’re worth it”. In late 2009, the slogan was changed again to “Because we’re worth it” following motivation analysis and work into consumer psychology of Dr. Maxim Titorenko. The shift to “we” was made to create stronger consumer involvement in L’Oréal philosophy and lifestyle and provide more consumer satisfaction with L’Oréal products. L’Oréal also owns a Hair and Body products line for kids called L’Oréal Kids, the slogan for which is “Because we’re worth it too”.
In 1987, L’Oréal and 3 Suisses founded Le Club des Créateurs de Beauté specialising in mail order sales of cosmetic products. In March 2008, L’Oréal acquired 3 Suisse’s stake, taking sole control of the company.
In November 2012, L’Oréal inaugurated the largest factory in the Jababeka Industrial Park, Cikarang, Indonesia, with a total investment of US$100 million. The production will be absorbed 25 percent by domestic market and the rest will be exported. In 2010 significant growth occurred at Indonesia with 61 percent increase of unit sales or 28 percent of net sales.
Board of directors
Current members of the board of directors of L’Oréal are:
- Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman and CEO
- Jean-Pierre Meyers, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors
- Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors
- Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, Director
- Paul Bulcke, Director
- Charles-Henri Filippi, Director
- Xavier Fontanet, Director
- Bernard Kasriel, Director
- Christiane Kuehne, Director
- Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, Director
- Jean-Victor Meyers, Director
- Virginie Morgon, Director
- Annette Roux, Director
- Louis Schweitzer, Director
The management committee includes:
- Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
- Laurent Attal, EVP Research and Innovation
- Jean-Philippe Blanpain, EVP Operations
- Nicolas Hieronimus, President Selective Divisions
- Brigitte Liberman, President Cosmetic Active division
- Marc Menesguen, President Consumer Products Division
- Christian Mulliez, EVP Administration and Finances
- Alexis Perakis-Valat, EVP Asia Pacific Zone
- Alexandre Popoff, EVP Eastern Europe Zone
- Sara Ravella, EVP Communication, Sustainability and Public Affairs
- Frederic Rozé, EVP of the Americas Zone
- Geoff Skingsley, EVP Africa – Middle East Zone
- An Verhulst-Santos, President Professional Products Division
- Jérôme Tixier, EVP Human Resources and Advisor to the Chairman
- Johen Zaumsel, EVP Western Europe Zone
As at year end 2012:
- Breakdown of share ownership: 30.5% by the Bettencourt family, 29.3% by Nestlé, 24.5% by international institutional investors, 8.3% by French institutional investors, 5% by individual shareholders, 1.7% treasury stock and 0.7% by employees.
Sales, profits, etc.
In 2003, L’Oréal announced its 19th consecutive year of double-digit growth. Its consolidated sales was €14.029 bn and net profit was €1.653 bn. 96.7% of sales derived from cosmetic activities and 2.5% from dermatological activities. L’Oréal has operations in over 130 countries, employing 50,500 people, 24% of which work in France. 3.3% of consolidated sales is invested in research and development, which accounts for 2,900 of its employees. In 2003, it applied for 515 patents. It operates 42 manufacturing plants throughout the world, which employ 14,000 people.
- Cosmetics sales by division breakdown: 54.8% from consumer products at €7.506 bn, 25.1% from luxury products at €3.441 bn, 13.9% from professional products at €1.9 bn, and 5.5% from active cosmetics at €0.749 bn.
- Cosmetic sales by geographic zone breakdown: 52.7% from Western Europe at €7.221 bn, 27.6% from North America at €3.784 bn, 19.7% from rest of the world at €2.699 bn.
Joint ventures and minority interests
L’Oréal holds 10.41% of the shares of Sanofi-Aventis, the world’s number three and Europe’s number one pharmaceutical company. The Laboratoires Innéov is a joint venture in nutritional cosmetics between L’Oréal and Nestlé; they draw on L’Oréal’s knowledge in the fields of nutrition and food safety. Galderma is another joint venture in dermatology between L’Oréal and Nestlé.
Corporate Social Responsibility
In 2009, L’Oréal declared their intention to cut greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and waste by 50% over the period 2005-2015  – a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions that is to be in part achieved by the use of solar panels, biogas and electricity and hot water produced from the combustion of methane gas recovered from agricultural waste. In 2012, the company announced a -37.1% reduction in C02 Emissions, a 24% reduction in water consumption and a -22% reduction in transportable waste, and was named a sector leader by Climate Counts for its practices and achievements in the management of carbon emissions.
Position on animal testing
In 1993, L’Oréal was faced with problems due to animal rights activists who protested about the use of animal testing by the company.
Though protest group Naturewatch states that L’Oréal continues to test new ingredients on animals, the company has clarified that no animal testing for finished products has taken place since 1989, that L’Oreal has invested significantly in alternative methods for chemical safety testing, and that tests on new ingredients make up less than 1% of all safety tests.
Following L’Oréal’s purchase of The Body Shop, who continue to be against animal testing, The Body Shop founder Dame Anita Roddick was forced to defend herself against allegations of abandoning her principles over L’Oréal’s track record on animal testing. Calls were made for shoppers to boycott The Body Shop.
However, since the 80’s, L’Oréal has invested €900 million in researching alternatives to animal tests, using methods such as reconstructed skin models at their research centers in Gerland, France, and Pudong, China.
Nevertheless, this is complicated by markets such as China, where animal testing of all cosmetics for human use is obligatory. Cosmetics by brands such as The Body Shop, which refuses to do animal tests, are thus not available on the Chinese market.
In 2013, L’Oréal was part of a consortium calling on the EU to invest more in research on alternatives to animal testing.
Community involvement and awards
In 2008, L’Oréal was named Europe’s top business employer by The European Student Barometer, a survey conducted by Trendence that covers 20 European countries and incorporates the responses of over 91,000 students.
The L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science was established to improve the position of women in science by recognizing outstanding women researchers who have contributed to scientific progress.
The awards are a result of a partnership between the French cosmetics company L’Oréal and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and carry a grant of $100,000 USD for each laureate. 
The same partnership awards the UNESCO-L’Oréal International Fellowships, providing up to $40,000 USD in funding over two years to fifteen young women scientists engaged in exemplary and promising research projects.
L’Oréal organises every year the L’Oréal Brandstorm, an acknowledged business game for students in 43 countries. The game is related to marketing and has a first prize of $10,000, a second prize of $5,000 and a third prize of $2500.
L’Oréal is also involved in the “Look Good…Feel Better”- project which is a Beauty Industry Charity which was formed over 16 years ago to help woman combat the visible side effects of their cancer treatment of which L’Oréal is a founder member.
Research and innovation
The aim for L’Oréal is to produce products that cater to their diverse customers specifically, in the emerging markets that currently account for 53% of the entire global beauty market. Through these research methods L’Oréal aims to tap into one billion new consumers  in these markets in the upcoming years.
In 2003, the L’Oréal Institute for Ethnic Hair & Skin Research was inaugurated in Chicago to continue their research on African American hair and skin among other ethnicities.The L’Oréal Group opened the Predictive Evaluation Center in Lyon, France in 2011. This centre is devoted to evaluating the quality of the products without testing on animals.Additionally, L’Oréal built an international “Consumer Insights” division as well as, regional Research and Innovation centres in six countries: Japan, China, India, the United States,Brazil, and France. The aim of these centres’ is to collect information on their diverse consumers in order to develop products according to their various needs. In 2011, L’Oréal announced its intention to build a Research and Innovation Center in Bom Jesus Island Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Estimated at 30 million euros (70,000,000 reals), this project is expected to create about 150 jobs by 2015.
In May 2007, L’Oréal was one of several cosmetic manufacturers (Clinique, Estee Lauder, Payot, Lancôme) ordered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia to withdraw advertising regarding the wrinkle removal capabilities of their products.
In the UK, L’Oréal has faced criticism from OFCOM regarding the truth of their advertising and marketing campaigns concerning the product performance of one of their mascara brands. In July 2007, the British Advertising Standards Authority attacked L’Oréal for a television advert on its “Telescopic” mascara, featuring Penélope Cruz, stating “it will make your eyelashes 60% longer.” In fact, it only made the lashes look 60% bigger, by separating and thickening at the roots and by thickening the tips of the lashes. They also failed to state that the model was wearing false eyelashes.
In July 2011, the British Advertising Standards Authority took action against L’Oréal, banning two airbrushed Lancôme advertisements in the UK featuring actress Julia Roberts and supermodel Christy Turlington. The agency issued the ban after British politician Jo Swinson argued that the two ads misrepresented reality and added to the self-image problem amongst females in the UK. L’Oréal acknowledged that the photos had been airbrushed but argued that the two cosmetic products could actually produce the results depicted in the ads and that the results of the products had been scientifically proven.
On 11 August 2005, the Supreme Court of California ruled that former L’Oréal sales manager Elyse Yanowitz had adequately pleaded a cause of action for retaliatory termination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, and remanded the case for trial. The case arose out of a 1997 incident in which Jack Wiswall, then the general manager for designer fragrances, allegedly told Yanowitz to fire a dark-skinned sales associate despite the associate’s good performance. When Yanowitz refused, Wiswall pointed to a “sexy” blonde-haired woman and said “God damn it, get me one that looks like that.” Wiswall retired as president of the luxury products division of L’Oréal USA at the end of 2006.
The company has recently faced discrimination lawsuits in France related to the hiring of spokesmodels and institutional racism. In July 2007, the Garnier division and an external employment agency were fined €30,000 for recruitment practices that intentionally excluded non-white women from promoting its shampoo, “Fructis Style”. L’Oréal is reported as saying the decision was “incomprehensible”, and would challenge the measure in court.
World War II controversy
Eugène Schueller, the company’s founder, was an alleged Nazi sympathizer. L’Oréal concedes that Schueller was an anti-Semitic fascist. He was also a member of La Cagoule, which supported the Vichy regime, and was a violent, pro-fascist and anti-communist organization. Eugène bankrolled La Cagoule and some meetings of La Cagoule were held at L’Oréal headquarters. Some of the criminal activities perpetrated by La Cagoule include firearms transportation, assassinating a former minister, and firebombing six Synagogues.
Other controversy arose when Jean Frydman, a shareholder and board member of Paravision, a film subsidiary of L’Oréal, was fired. He claims that he was let go because L’Oréal wanted to avoid an Arab boycott of businesses associated with Jews. In turn, Frydman decided to expose the past of L’Oréal executives. André Bettencourt who married Schueller’s daughter, Liliane Bettencourt, and became deputy chairman for L’Oréal, wrote 60 articles for La Terre Française. La Terre Française was an anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda sheet. André has admitted ownership of the propaganda but claimed he was poisoned by the Vichy regime and said, “I have repeatedly expressed my regrets concerning them in public and will always beg the Jewish community to forgive me for them.” André Bettencourt also sheltered Schueller and several collaborators from the French Resistance after Liberation. It was also revealed that Eugène Schueller hired Jacques Correze, who as of 2001, was the honorary head of L’Oréal’s U.S. affiliate, Cosmair, and was involved withLa Cagoule.
Further controversy arose when it was revealed that L’Oréal had its German headquarters for over 30 years, before being sold in 1991, on land confiscated from Jews during World War II. The Jewish family has been battling for restitution from the company for three generations, the latest of which is Edith Rosenfelder, a Holocaust survivor. Fritz Rosenfelder, was forced to sell the house to a Nazi official, of which the family never received the proceeds of the sale. Instead, the family was deported. The Allies passed Jewish restitution legislation which says that transactions with Nazi’s, even if appearing to be with the owner’s consent, can be considered invalid. As the land was sold to an offshoot of L’Oréal, which was later bought out in 1961 by L’Oréal, the company claims that it is not responsible for anything that happened before then. The basis for Rosenfelder’s argument is that since the original sale was illegal, all subsequent sales are equally unlawful. There was restitution paid in 1951 to the Jewish Restitution Successor Organization, though this was done without the family’s consent and none of the money ever reached the family. A book by Monica Waitzfelder, daughter of Edith Rosenfelder, published in French as L’Oréal a pris ma maison and in English as L’Oréal stole my house!, details how L’Oréal, took over the Waitzfelder home in the German city of Karlsruhe (after the Nazis had engineered the removal of the family) to make it its German headquarters. Monica Waitzfelder is quoted as saying, “All the other businesses which took Jewish property have since returned it, without any great debate. I don’t understand why L’Oréal should be any different from the others.” A case was brought before the Supreme Court in France, but the public prosecutor ruled that there could be no trial. As of 2007, she is bringing the case to the European Court of Human Rights.
Brands are generally categorized by their targeted markets, such as the mass, professional, luxury, and active cosmetics markets. The Body Shop and Galderma are directly attached to the head office. L’Oréal also owns interests in various activities such as fine chemicals, health, finance, design, advertising, insurance.
- L’Oréal Technique
- L’Oréal Professionnel, including ARTec and Innate
- Kérastase (created by L’Oreal in 1964)
- Kéraskin Esthetics, created by L’Oreal in 2007 and specializing in skin care professionals.
- Matrix Essentials, founded by Arnie Miller in 1980 and acquired by L’Oreal in 2000.
- Mizani, founded in 1991 and bought by L’Oreal in 2001.
- PureOlogy Research, founded in 2001 and acquired by L’Oreal in 2007.
- Redken 5th Avenue NYC, founded by Paula Kent and Jheri Redding in 1960 and acquired by L’Oreal in 1993.
- Shu Uemura Art of Hair
- Yves Saint Laurent
- Giorgio Armani
- Maison Martin Margiela
- Viktor & Rolf
- Ralph Lauren
- The Body Shop
- Shu Uemura
- Stella McCartney
- Paloma Picasso
- Drakkar noir
- Urban Decay
- Yue Sai
- Helena Rubinstein
- EM Michelle Phan
- L’Oréal Paris
- Créateurs de Beauté
- La Roche Posay
- EM Michelle Phan
L’Oréal Group has its head office in the Centre Eugène Schueller in Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine, near Paris. The building, constructed in the 1970s from brick and steel, replaced the former Monsavon factory, and employees moved into the facility in 1978. 1,400 employees work in the building. In 2005, Nils Klawitter of Der Spiegel said “the building, with its brown glazed façade of windows, is every bit as ugly as its neighbourhood.” Klawitter added that the facility “gives the impression of a high-security zone” due to the CCTV cameras and security equipment. The world’s largest hair salon is located inside the head office building. As of 2005, 90 hairdressers served 300 women, including retirees, students, and unemployed people, per day; the customers are used as test subjects for new hair colours.