Sally Beauty appoints its first female CEO

Marianne Wilson
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Denise Paulonis
Sally Beauty Holdings has appointed Denise Paulonis as its new president and CEO.

A former Michaels Companies executive is taking the top at Sally Beauty Holdings.

The beauty company appointed Denise Paulonis as president and CEO, effective October 1. Paulonis will be the first female chief executive in the company's history and also one of the few woman to lead a publicly traded company.  She succeeds Chris Brickman who is stepping down on Sept. 30. Brickman will serve in a consulting capacity through March 31 to support an orderly transition.

Most recently, Paulonis was CFO of Sprouts Farmers Market. From 2014 to 2020, she served in various executive roles at The Michaels Companies, including as executive VP and CFO, senior VP of finance and treasurer, and VP of corporate finance, investor relations and treasury.

From 2000 to 2014, Paulonis held senior level positions with PepsiCo, McKinsey & Company and Bank of America. She has been a member of Sally Beauty’s board since 2018 and is the current chair of the audit committee.

“As the company emerges from the hard work of its transformation, both the board and Chris agree that now is the right time for a change in leadership,” stated Robert McMaster, chair, Sally Beauty. “During Chris’s tenure, the company ushered in many new initiatives, including strengthening Sally Beauty Holdings’ standing as the largest omnichannel hair color retailer, introducing modernized loyalty programs, investing significantly in technology and improving our digital capabilities, and leading the company through the pandemic.”

[Read More: Sally Beauty optimizes pricing with AI]

McMaster continued:

“The board has taken a thoughtful approach to succession planning to ensure that Sally Beauty Holdings is best positioned to continue its momentum, and we unanimously believe Denise is the right leader to drive the next stage of the company’s growth. “With her experience and proven commitment to the company, we believe Denise will provide fresh perspectives and valuable insights in order to take our brands and our company into the future.”

Sally Beauty Holdings sells and distributes professional beauty supplies globally through its Sally Beauty Supply and Beauty Systems Group businesses. The company operates approximately 5,000 stores, including 141 franchised locations.