Coty snares Shiseido’s Senior VP for Chief Scientific role

Beauty owner adds to list of females in top position roles and shows commitment to turnaround plan

Coty's CoverGirl brand launched its first-ever skin care range this week

Beauty conglomerate Coty has poached Shiseido’s Senior VP of its American Innovation Center, Shimei Fan, to become its Chief Scientific Officer.

A former Senior R&D Director of Unilever, with whom she served for more than two decades, Fan worked in executive roles for several personal care heavyweights, including Johnson & Johnson and Beiersdorf, before joining the Japanese beauty company in 2019.

Fan also holds a doctorate in Physical Chemistry from the University of Southampton, and she attended the University of Cambridge and Harvard Business School.

Speaking about Fan’s appointment, Coty’s CEO, Sue Nabi, said she was “thrilled” that the science veteran would be joining the team.

“We could not be more thrilled to welcome Shimei, an innovative beauty scientist and seasoned R&D leader with a 30-year track record of delivering highly innovative, sustainable and ‘clean’ consumer products for the world's leading beauty companies,” she said.

Bringing Fan aboard also adds to Coty’s growing number of women in top level positions.

In July last year, the cosmetics maker onboarded three females to its executive committee, giving its leadership team a female majority.

The expanded committee includes Nabi, General Counsel Kristin Blazewicz and Princess Anna of Bavaria, who is known professionally as Anna von Bayern.

Coty’s ‘clean’ slate

Looking further ahead, Fan’s post is a further indication that Coty, which owns CoverGirl and Rimmel London, is gearing up for one of the industry’s greatest comebacks.

It’s no secret that the business has been navigating a period of ‘transition’ for the last few years, following a tumultuous time.

Coty’s headquarters became a revolving door for executives and a disastrous deal with P&G in 2016 to take on 41 consumer brands put the business into financial difficulty years ahead of the pandemic.

But a series of positive months has allowed Coty to balance its books, and it is betting on ‘clean’ as the future of its brands.



Kylie Cosmetics, the multi-million dollar brand established by TV personality Kylie Jenner, underwent a rebrand over the summer, and reintroduced all of its products under the ‘clean’ and vegan taglines.

Meanwhile, the brand of Jenner’s sister, KKW beauty, founded by Kim Kardashian West and also owned partially by Coty, has closed its operations while the brand undergoes a revamp.

Taking similar steps as Kylie Cosmetics, deleting all of its Instagram posts, hints that the brand could be experiencing a similar rebrand.

CoverGirl also introduced its first-ever skin care range this week. Predictably, the 5-sku collection has been branded as ‘clean’ and vegan.

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