Blackmores’ new CEO: Coty top exec with China experience to take the helm

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Alastair Symington is officially the CEO of Blackmores from Oct 1. ©Linkedin
Alastair Symington is officially the CEO of Blackmores from Oct 1. ©Linkedin

Related tags Blackmores Ceo China Australia

Blackmores has confirmed Alastair Symington, one of the top executives from beauty and cosmetics brand Coty, as its new CEO and MD.

Symington, the SVP of consumer beauty at Coty, is currently based in Dubai, overseeing five key regions, namely Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Australia.

With more than 23 years of consumer goods experience in beauty, health, and grooming sectors, he previously worked for other MNCs such as Nestle, Gillette, and P&G.

The Australian native, who has a Bachelor of Economics and a Post Graduate Diploma in International Business (Asian Studies) from Monash University, will return to his home country to take over from interim CEO and Executive Director Marcus Blackmores from October 1.

Describing Symington as possessing“strong business acumen” ​and “personal passion for natural health and dynamic personality”,​ interim CEO Blackmore said he made the “perfect choice”​ to lead the firm. 

“The Board undertook an extensive international search for our new CEO. I’m delighted that we are appointing Alastair to continue running our proudly Australian company,”​ he added.

On the other hand, Symington said he would help drive “substantial top-line growth via a greater presence of the Blackmores throughout the region”​while ensuring that the firm becomes “more efficient as a business delivering superior results for shareholders.”

Symington will become Blackmores’ third CEO in less than three years.

Ex-CEO Richard Henfrey resigned unexpectedly about 1.5 years into the role in February this year, while his predecessor Christine Holgate left in September 2017​ to lead Australian Post. 

China experience

Symington, who used to work in Shanghai, is said to have significant China experience, ranging from NPD to cross border e-commerce and retail – key growth drivers that the firm is heavily reliant on in the Chinese market. 

He also took up Mandarin lessons during his stint in China.

Expressing his confidence in Symington, Blackmores chairman Brent Wallace added that “product innovation and education is a key priority for Blackmores in China. Alastair’s deep understanding of China and proven track-record in product innovation will enable us to continue growing in this important market.”

In China, fellow Australian brands Swisse and BioIsland have been aggressively snapping up slices of the market, emerging as China’s top two most imported foreign supplement brands​ last year. 

In contrast, Blackmores came in at seventh place.

In April, the firm announced a weak Q3 results​ due to a slower domestic and China sales, while remaining confident that it would get back on track.

The results showed that despite the fact that China segment sales were up 19% on a quarterly basis, its overall sales to China were estimated to be 6% lower on a yeae-on-year basis.

According to Blackmores, this is due to slowing sales through Australian retailers, as daigou and C2C sellers had to review their operating models due to China’s implementation of the PRC Electronic Commerce Law.

He revealed that the firm had since conducted a two-month review on enhancing performance via the daigou platform.

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