American Cover Story: The 2017 CEW Newsmaker Forum + Camillo Pane


Recently, Verge Creative Group had the privilege of sponsoring the 2017 CEW Newsmaker Forum in New York City. Coty CEO Camillo Pane talked about recent changes at the company, the intersection between beauty and social responsibility, and what lies ahead for Coty and the beauty industry as a whole.

Since being named CEO in 2015, Pane has taken great strides to turn Coty into a global beauty powerhouse, redefining the company for existing customers and attracting new ones with a fresh, forward-thinking message. Following Coty’s $12 billion merger with P&G Specialty Beauty, the company has kept the momentum up by focusing on diversity, inclusion, and self-expression.

“Diversity is the priority,” said Pane. “We put it at the core of our purpose. I truly believe that diversity is important to drive in society and in the business environment. It’s important that we embrace it as a company.”

Perhaps the biggest change in the company’s consumer division has been to American heritage brand CoverGirl. The drugstore mainstay has gotten a complete makeover, ditching their decades-old “Easy, Breezy, Beautiful” slogan for a more modern, self-assured one: “I Am What I Make Up” mirrors a prevalent attitude in the beauty world today — that makeup is a powerful tool to express personality and empowerment. This change was based on the need to make a more emotional connection with customers, and it couldn’t have come at a better time: in our social media-driven world, connection is extremely important.


Pane said of CoverGirl's new slogan, “There is diversity and individuality... there are real people who have a strong point of view. I think this is relevant to our society.” And speaking about gender diversity, Pane noted that 56% of their overall workforce are women, and of their top 600 leaders, 42% are women.

As part of the revamp, Pane observed how their customers interacted with their brand. For example, Coty’s recent partnership with Story — a concept store in Chelsea that serves as a pop-up space — was an experiment to show the more personal, experiential appeal of their brands. And it was successful: consumers used to seeing brands like CoverGirl, Rimmel, and Sally Hansen in the drugstore were able to interact with these products in new and exciting ways (enhanced by interactive technologies like YouCam, Vengo, and Array). 

Today, brands and their customers can see eye-to-eye like never before — and it’s no surprise that the most connected brands have the most loyal customers. Coty has repositioned itself as a responsive, attentive, customer-focused brand at the forefront of innovation, and it’s clear that Camillo Pane is up to the challenge.

“It’s important,” he said emphatically, “that speed is at the core of what we do.”