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03/11/2021

Ulta Beauty names new CEO

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
Marianne Wilson profile picture

There will be a changing of the guard at Ulta Beauty in June.

The nation’s largest beauty retailer said that, “following a thorough succession planning process,” Dave Kimbell, president of Ulta Beauty, will succeed Mary Dillon as CEO on June 2. Dillon will transition to the role of executive chair of the board for a one-year term during which she will continue to guide strategy while supporting Kimball in his transition.

Dillon, who has served as CEO for eight years, is credited with driving Ulta’s significant business growth. Under her watch, the company’s market capitalization tripled to more than $18 billion and it delivered total shareholder return of 245%, according to Ulta. Dillon also expanded the chain’s footprint nationwide, from some 567 stores at the start of her tenure to more than 1,200 locations currently.  Most recently, she partnered with Target Corp. to open in-store Ulta shops in the discounter's stores beginning in the second half of this year.

“It has been the honor of my career to lead the Ulta Beauty family for the last eight years and a true joy to have been inspired by our dedicated associates and beauty-loving guests daily,” said Dillon. “Our strategies, culture and continuous innovation have strengthened our business model, ensuring we are well-positioned to continue leading the industry. Throughout my time with the company, I have worked closely with our board on strategic succession plans, and I believe now is the right time to begin a CEO transition.”

Incoming CEO Kimbell joined Ulta as a chief marketing officer in 2014 and held other leadership positions before being named president in 2019.

“Thanks to Mary’s outstanding leadership, the future is very bright at Ulta Beauty,” said Kimbell. “Our dynamic business plays a unique and important role in the beauty industry and in our guests’ lives – and we are committed to continue operating with deep respect for that role while innovating and winning together.”

In other changes, Kecia Steelman, currently chief store operations officer, will be promoted to the role of COO.