Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2008 (Revised April 2013)

Bernd Beetz: Creating the New Coty

by Geoffrey Jones and David Kiron

Abstract

Considers the creation of the world's largest fragrance company by Bernd Beetz, appointed chief executive of Coty Inc. in 2001. In 1990 the German consumer goods company Benkiser began acquiring fragrance and cosmetics brands with the intent of developing a beauty business. These included the long-established, but relatively small, U.S. fragrance company Coty. In 1996 the beauty business was spun off under the name Coty. When Beetz was hired as chief executive, it was still a fragmented collection of recently acquired brands. The case describes how Beetz re-ignited the dormant celebrity fragrance business with the successful launch of a new Jennifer Lopez fragrance line. Fashioning a new entrepreneurial culture based on the principles of "faster, further, freer," Coty hired longstanding executives from other firms and liberated their entrepreneurial capabilities, refreshing brands which had been tarnished into a global mass color cosmetics brand. In 2005 the acquisition of Calvin Klein from Unilever, and its renewal, catapulted Coty into the position of the world's largest fragrance company. The case provides an opportunity to examine the entrepreneurial, cultural, and organizational factors which enable acquired brands and employees to be re-invigorated and molded into a dynamic new global business. It asks if the cultural and other factors behind its rapid growth can sustain the company as it seeks growth much further as a top-five beauty company.

Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Entrepreneurship; Globalized Firms and Management; Growth and Development Strategy; Corporate Strategy; Beauty and Cosmetics Industry; Germany; United States;

Citation:

Jones, Geoffrey, and David Kiron. "Bernd Beetz: Creating the New Coty." Harvard Business School Case 808-133, June 2008. (Revised April 2013.)