Amorepacific CEO ranks as highest cosmetics industry head

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Amorepacific CEO ranks as highest cosmetics industry head

Related tags: Management occupations, Chief executive officer

Suh Kyung-bae, the Chairman and CEO of the Korean beauty giant is number 20 on Harvard Business Review's top CEO list.

Named as the highest cosmetic industry CEO on 24th October 2017, Suh Kyung-bae was also ranked as the second highest among Asian CEOs.

The general management magazine, Harvard Business Review, announced the Chairman and CEO as #20 on the list of 'Best-performing CEOs in the world 2017'​.

Winning combination

This list was established to assess and class CEOs' performance using factors such as market capitalisation, shareholder interest and social contribution. This is analysed over the CEO’s entire tenure period.

In Asia, Hisashi Ietsugu, CEO of Japanese healthcare company, Sysmex, was voted into the number 18 spot, two places ahead of Kyung-bae, and is the highest among Asian CEOs.

Other notable nods were given to Fabrizio Freda at Estee Lauder, hitting the 25th position, along with L'Oreal's Jean-Paul Agon at number 87.

The 2017 Harvard Business Review results also represent the first time a Korean CEO has been in the top CEO list since Yun Jongyong, former CEO and Vice Chairman of Samsung Electronics and Chung Mongokk, Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group who came in at the number 3 and number 6 positions, respectively.

Spearheading innovations

"Amorepacific is one of the most innovative companies according to Forbes (Amorepacific ranked 16th on the 2017 Forbes Most Innovative Companies list) and has pioneered innovations such as cushion technology,"​ observed Nana Von Bernuth, Director of Insead Business School.

Sharing her views on why Kyung-bae makes such a successful CEO, Von Bernuth went on to say: "It is known that Suh enjoys reading and meditation and has always had a curious nature. We believe this is an essential trait to a long-term achievement in company management.”

"With an entrepreneurial mindset, Suh is always exploring emerging opportunities. He also shows outstanding insights in understanding potential markets and developing new, innovative products,"​ added Michael Jarrett, a professor at Insead Business School. "Amorepacific's strength is also its well-maintained heritage inherited from Suh's grandmother, Yun Dokjeong."

Proof is in the numbers

Following Kyung-bae’s inauguration as CEO of Taepyeongyang (present Amorepacific), the company's sales have risen tenfold from KRW 646.2 bn (€499 mn) in 1996 to 6.6976 tn (€5.2 bn) in 2016.

Its operating profit also grew more than twenty times, from KRW 52.2 bn (€40.3 mn) in 1996 to 1.0828 tn (€1.4 bn) in 2016.

As a result, Women’s Wear Daily said that these successes had led to Amorepacific becoming the 7th largest beauty company by sales.

The beauty leader’s overseas operation hit KRW 1.6968 tn (€1.3 bn) in 2016, amounting to 181 times more than the amount the company exported in 1996, which was KRW 9.4 bn (€7.3 mn).

Amorepacific is now focusing on its five global “champion brands”​: Sulwhasoo, Laneige, Mamonde, Etude House and innisfree.

With its “single, clear mission: to present its unique perception of beauty - namely what it calls 'Asian Beauty' - to the world”​, Amorepacific has continued to take part in numerous social contribution activities.

In the past two decades, Amorepacific has increased the amount it spends on social contribution activities 62 times, from KRW 0.4 bn (€308,500) to KRW 24 bn (€18.5 mn).

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