Owen-Jones resigns as L’Oreal chair

City A.M. Reporter
L’OREAL, the world’s biggest cosmetics maker, has confirmed the resignation of charismatic chairman Lindsay Owen-Jones and elevated current chief executive Jean-Paul Agon to executive chairman.

Owen-Jones, widely regarded as the man who transformed L’Oreal from a French into a global business, will stay on its board and become honorary chairman as of next month.

The group also asked for shareholder Liliane Bettencourt, descendant of the group’s founder, to remain on the board with the same terms, dismissing analysts’ speculation she could leave in favour of younger members of her family.

Having benefited from the market’s recovery last year, Owen-Jones proposed to raise the dividend by 20 per cent for 2010 to €1.80 (£1.52) a share for 2010 and pledged to lift profits and revenue again this year.

The group also said like-for-like sales rose 4.1 per cent in the three months to 31 December, undershooting growth expectations of 5.3 per cent.

The maker of Lancome creams and Garnier shampoos made an operating profit of €3.06bn on sales of €19.5bn.