Estetica had the pleasure of sitting with Stefan Mund, recently appointed Regional Head Henkel Beauty Care Hair Professional in North America, overseeing global acclaimed brands Schwarzkopf Professional, Sexy Hair, Alterna and Kenra.
Mund has 25 years of experience at the Henkel group and as a long-term member of the Australian senior management team for Schwarzkopf Professional. We’re excited to share Mund’s challenging new venture with our readers. He has recently been appointed as the regional head for the US and has previously overseen the Schwarzkopf Professional and Indola businesses in France and Benelux along with extensive global experience.
1. How long have you been working with Henkel?
“25 years in the company! I’ve been in responsibility in 6 countries, so 17 years outside of Germany, but I’m a German native. I’ve been in retail and professional responsibilities all over the world. Countries including Germany, Switzerland, Japan, France, Benelux and from Benelux I came to Australia 6 years ago. I was running now the Australian and New Zealand professional and retail businesses. After 6 years, I got a phone call about 3 and a half weeks ago saying we are in preparation of an acquisition on the US market and we would like you to become the regional head and I had 24 hours to decide! So I said YES! My background is marketing, I have been in marketing and sales roles in the past. But now as I said, I have been the general manager or director of businesses in 4 different countries. I hope that I can bring into the American market now some sharing of experiences of other markets while getting the best out of our fantastic team in the US. From my experience, I know who to contact, whom to connect with, in order to ensure we do the right thing for all the brands.”
2. Knowing that Schwarzkopf has a strong commitment to education, what is your perspective on the hairdressing industry and education?
“Education has been a key pillar in the development of Schwarzkopf Professional business worldwide. When we are talking about North America we believe that with education and the acquisition of these three fantastic brands –Sexy Hair, Alterna and Kenra– we will have great opportunities to leverage the experience we have from other markets around the world and support our brands with an even stronger educational program. We see more opportunities with combining new technologies and providing more education. Education will be a key pillar for stimulate development in the US.”
3. One of your main assets is to bring this global perspective to the US?
“We believe in the individual strength of all of these brands: Schwarzkopf Professional, Sexy Hair, Alterna and Kenra. The idea is to network and connect, to help each single brand become even bigger. We do see them as regional brands, from a global perspective, so they will be driven, developed, and enhanced here in the US. I will never exclude the opportunities of going international, however we want to keep growing and strengthening in the US and Canada before we think about further internationalization.”
4. It’s going to be a great challenge for the Henkel family to have this new portfolio of very different brands?
“This is a challenge. It will certainly be one of our and my key responsibilities. The idea is a relatively simple one: we have very strong brands here, they all have a strong track record, and they have all been successful. What we are going to focus on is developing these brands to further success in the US and Canada. We will identify how we can utilize new technologies, research and development to even further strengthen all of these businesses and all of these brands. Schwarzkopf will remain Schwarzkopf, Sexy Hair, Alterna and Kenra, we all share the same vision and the same opportunities. We had a great meeting last week, and we presented on what our common vision is. We have a very good alignment with each other. We want to support brands and develop. I think this vision and ambition is being shared by a lot of great people.”
5. Can we expect Schwarzkopf Professional to grow in the US and become as strong as it is in Europe?
“In a way, for more than 2 years now, we really have the opportunity to build. We want Schwarzkopf Professional to become as strong as it is in other parts of the world. We believe with the new set-up it will really enhance our opportunities. We are now definitely one of the leading companies in the US and it allows us to have more leverage.”