Tim Warner, chief executive officer of Urban Decay, is said to be heading to the startup world and one of the hottest beauty brands around, Drunk Elephant.
A spokeswoman from Urban Decay confirmed to WWD Tuesday that Warner is leaving his post at the L’Oréal-owned company to “pursue an entrepreneurial opportunity.” Elaine MacNeil, currently senior vice president of U.S. sales at the brand, will be stepping into the role of general manager.
Tiffany Masterson, founder of Drunk Elephant, declined to comment on whether Warner will join the fast growing skin-care brand.
It’s rumored that Drunk Elephant approached Warner earlier this year, following speculation that The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. and L’Oréal showed significant interest in acquiring the company. Masterson said in late 2016 that she was in talks with private equity and strategic players – but that the company was not for sale.
An industry source said the two-and-a-half-year-old brand poached Warner to run its business on the heels of securing an investment in March from VMG Partners, which took a minority stake in Drunk Elephant for an undisclosed amount. Robin Tsai, principal at VMG, declined to comment on specifics relating to the investment or whether Warner is heading to the company.
“He’s [Warner] been a proven leader who’s been able to take businesses from an earlier stage that have now become iconic. He’s done it with Benefit [and] he’s done it with Urban Decay,” a source said. “He’s picked only very few and he’s picked really well and he’s stayed with those businesses for very long periods of time.”
The cash infusion from the San Francisco-based private-equity firm and the company’s explosive growth were said to have helped lure Warner from Urban Decay, which is approaching $1 billion in global retail sales. That, and potential equity in Drunk Elephant, which if eventually acquired for as much as industry darlings like Becca, Too Faced or It Cosmetics, makes the move even more attractive to Warner.
Drunk Elephant is said to be in the process of filling other executive roles in the company. An industry source with knowledge of the brand’s business said that sales of between $25 million and $30 million at retail in 2016 are on track to double this year following the entry into markets such as Canada and Australia.