Dive Brief:

  • After about six years on the job, Paula’s Choice Chief Executive Officer Tara Poseley is stepping down from the role, according to a LinkedIn post this week. Erika Kussmann, who was most recently the brand’s chief marketing officer, has taken on the CEO position, per a LinkedIn post.
  • The skincare brand has also promoted Susanne Ferguson to chief digital and commercial officer, and Vanessa van Leusden to European general manager, leaving the brand’s European director of marketing and e-commerce role open for hire.
  • Poseley wrote that she is not moving to another company or retiring at the moment, but is instead taking some time to think about her next move. However, Poseley added that she is currently “feeling inspired” by women’s health, menopause and feminine tech. The executive previously served as chief product officer at Lululemon, as well as senior vice president and president of KMart Apparel at Sears Holdings Corporation.

Dive Insight:

For Poseley, leading Paula’s Choice since 2016 has been a rewarding journey.

“I love this company, the brand, the employees and working for Unilever Prestige, but I know the timing is right,” Poseley said on LinkedIn. “Servant leaders must foster leadership strength behind them and recognize when it is time to step aside to allow their team to advance. I am confident that under my successors our company culture will thrive, the brand will continue to grow, and they will see unmatched results.”

Unilever acquired the prestige skincare company in 2021. At the time, Unilever said the brand, which was founded by Paula Begoun in 1995, was able to create content and digital tools allowing customers to better understand the science behind its products. The acquisition added to Unilever’s list of DTC brand deals, which has included Dollar Shave Club, Trubotanicals and Nutrafol. The acquisition of Nutrafol in May last year was followed by the news this month that the brand would enter its first wholesale deal with Sephora.

Paula’s Choice had largely focused on its DTC e-commerce channel until it entered a wholesale deal with Sephora in 2021, according to reporting from Beauty Independent. Now, it also sells through retailers such as Amazon, Nordstrom and Dermstore. 

In Unilever’s latest Q3 earnings report, the company said its beauty and wellbeing sector’s sales grew 6.7%, with prestige beauty performing well with “strong contributions” from Paula’s Choice. The company’s own CEO, Alan Jope, announced in September his intention to retire from the position by the end of this year. 


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