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“Boldness in Beauty – Leadership Insights from L’Oréal”

Jean-Paul Agon’s expertise extends beyond business management. Throughout his 15-year tenure as CEO of L’Oréal, he doubled revenues and quadrupled the share price, solidifying the company’s position as a leader in the beauty industry with a market cap of $235 billion.

However, beyond the boardroom, Agon finds solace and inspiration in sailing, a beloved hobby. “It’s my passion—I indulge in it whenever possible,” shares L’Oréal’s Chairman and former CEO.

Agon draws parallels between sailing and leadership, recognizing similarities in their principles. He emphasizes the importance of setting a clear course in both endeavors, navigating through challenges while adapting to changing conditions. Furthermore, he stresses the significance of teamwork, likening crew coordination in sailing to effective delegation and collaboration in business management. According to Agon, success in both realms hinges on shared goals and harmonious cooperation among team members.

Under Jean-Paul Agon’s leadership, the 115-year-old cosmetics company has embarked on a transformative journey, embracing digitalization and striving to set standards in environmental, social, ethical, and societal realms. L’Oréal holds a unique position as the only company globally recognized by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) as a leader in corporate sustainability for an unprecedented eight consecutive years. Additionally, for 14 consecutive years, L’Oréal has been honored as one of the world’s most ethical companies by the Ethisphere Institute.

Jean-Paul Agon, reflecting on his predecessor Lindsay Owen-Jones’s perspective, describes L’Oréal not as a monolithic entity but as a flotilla—a collection of individual entities working in unison. He emphasizes a decentralized approach, likening the company to a fleet of boats, each with its own captain and crew. This philosophy permeates every level of the organization, fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration. Agon underscores the presence of numerous “start-ups” within the company, all moving cohesively towards shared objectives with a strong sense of unity and purpose.

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