Marie-Pierre Goyenetche is back in the beauty business, and she couldn’t be happier. The 18-year procurement veteran has just taken on a new global procurement role at Coty, as vice president responsible for third-party manufacturing, and has relocated to Geneva after many years in Paris.

Originally published March 2017

Coty is an exciting place to be right now, having just completed a merger of equals with P&G’s Specialty Beauty business to create one of the world’s leading beauty firms. Now the third-largest beauty company worldwide, it has $9 billion in revenues, and is setting up a supply chain strategy that combines the best of legacy Coty and legacy P&G.

For Goyenetche, the move in October following two years working as a global procurement director at packaging and containers business Amcor. She had joined Amcor for a change of direction after nearly 16 years with French beauty house L’Oréal, but now finds herself to be back in the industry she knows well.

“I’m really pleased to be back in the beauty business,” she says. “This combination is a unique opportunity for me to bring my skills to a start-up company to some extent, which is totally reinventing the model and the way to act in beauty. The supply chain people, including procurement, have a significant role to play in the journey.”

Goyenetche joined L’Oréal straight out of university, where she studied engineering, initially working in product development before getting the opportunity to switch over to procurement. She held several packaging roles before being asked, in 2006, to set up a new regional sourcing hub for the business in Brazil. She spent nearly seven years working in São Paulo, leading an initiative that was a lynchpin of the firm’s Latin American strategy, and responsible for a €350 million portfolio.

When she returned to France she was appointed global purchasing director for the upstream market, and later sourcing director for contract manufacturing in Europe, before she left for Amcor in January 2015.

“I decided I was ready for a new challenge,” she says, “so I decided to keep my procurement role but change everything else. I moved to a B2B company, switched from cosmetics to packaging, and went from a French company to a Canadian one.” At Amcor she became global procurement director, with responsibility for aluminium and paper.

Now at Coty, she is tasked with overseeing procurement across third-party manufacturing, which means everything that is not produced in Coty plants. And she is doing a lot of recruitment as the new firm builds out its core functions. She says she works hard to communicate the unique nature of the opportunity, and the adventure.

“There is a lot to be built, so if you want to be a real founder of this new company, you should join up,” she says. “This is a great chance to drive it forward, participate in the growth agenda, and be on board for some very exciting growth plans. That’s a real differentiator for us in the recruitment market right now, and the candidates tend to be pretty excited.”

She enjoys selling the virtues of the beauty business: Coty will hold the number one position worldwide in fragrances, number two in salon hair products, and number three for colour cosmetics.

“The beauty industry is kind of a sexy industry to work in,” says Goyenetche. “The products are beautiful, and you are bringing beauty and well-being to people, so it’s really positive. Candidates are responding really well to that.”

She says there is no shortage of female talent when she is looking to hire, even though there may not yet be totally parity in terms of men and women working in senior supply chain roles. Goyenetche says: “There’s certainly an opportunity to increase female representation in the supply chain, just because it’s really important to make sure you have the best talent, regardless of gender. I’m convinced women have a significant role to play across this function.”

Her advice to those starting out in supply chain careers is to appreciate the importance of their role to the company as a whole, and to be passionate and take ownership of projects. “What I’ve learned is the value that you bring to the business,” she says. “In Coty, if you want to perform and be a really great contributor, then you need to be thinking like you are working in a start-up, regardless of the size of the company, and drive things forward even if you are still relatively junior. It’s important to enjoy it and be an ambassador for your business; and always perform beyond expectations.”

She says the role of the supply chain will continue to be absolutely critical for businesses in the beauty space, where challengers like Younique are using new methods to get to customers. Younique is a leading online peer-to-peer social selling platform in beauty, founded in 2012 in the United States, with a mission to uplift, empower and validate women across the globe. Younique’s innovative makeup and skin care products are sold over 4.1 million consumers in 10 countries, including the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Mexico, France, Spain and Hong Kong.

Goyenetche says: “The role of the supply chain will keep on being key, and will be a key function for Coty as we adapt our company to the changing market conditions. We need to make sure we can always get to consumers with the right products at the right time.”

The good news is that she feels that in the beauty business, supply chain professionals have already gained credibility at the top level of their companies. “The credibility is already well-established,” she says, “because the supply chain in beauty is part of the executive committee. With new entrants coming into the market, and new brands emerging, if you are not very strong in supply chain, and you can’t deliver what you promised to the consumer, that’s a critical issue for a business.”

Women lead two of the three key divisions in the new Coty, with Esi Eggleston Bracey heading Coty Consumer Beauty, and Sylvie Moreau running Coty Professional Beauty, and Goyenetche says the company will welcome more women to the board very soon. Diversity is seen as an important issue as the business comes of age.

“What I really enjoy is that I’m really a founder, and part of the founding of a new company,” says Goyenetche. “It gives me a lot of opportunity, and I’m really seeing the role I need to play in the organisation to support the growth and the journey.”

No wonder she was tempted back to the industry she thought she’d left behind.