Jean Madar, a Director, has been the Chairman of the Board since our Company’s inception, and is a co-founder of our Company with Mr. Philippe Benacin. From inception until December 1993 he was the President of our Company; in January 1994 he became Director General of Interparfums SA, our Company’s subsidiary; and in January 1997 he became Chief Executive Officer of our Company. Mr. Madar was previously the managing director of Interparfums SA, from September 1983 until June 1985. At such subsidiary, he had the responsibility of overseeing the marketing operations of its foreign distribution, including market research analysis and actual marketing campaigns. Mr. Madar graduated from The French University for Economic and Commercial Sciences (ESSEC) in 1983.
Philippe Benacin, a Director, is President of our Company and the Chief Executive Officer of Interparfums SA, has been the Vice Chairman of the Board since September 1991, and is a co-founder of our Company with Mr. Madar. He was elected the Executive Vice President in September 1991, Senior Vice President in April 1993, and President of the Company in January 1994. In addition, he has been the Chief Executive Officer of Interparfums SA for more than the past five years. Mr. Benacin graduated from The French University for Economic and Commercial Sciences (ESSEC) in 1983.
Russell Greenberg, the Chief Financial Officer, was Vice-President, Finance when he joined the Company in June 1992; became Executive Vice President in April 1993; and was appointed to our board of directors in February 1995. He is a certified public accountant licensed in the State of New York, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants. After graduating from The Ohio State University in 1980, he was employed in public accounting until he joined our Company in June 1992.
Philippe Santi, a Director since December 1999, is the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Interparfums SA. Mr. Santi, who is a Certified Accountant and Statutory Auditor in France, has been the Chief Financial Officer of Interparfums SA since February 1995. Prior to February 1995, Mr. Santi was the Chief Financial Officer for Stryker France and an Audit Manager for Ernst and Young.
Mr. Heilbronn has been a Director since 1988, is an independent director and a member of the Audit Committee, Nominating Committee and the Executive Compensation and Stock Option Committee, is a graduate of Harvard Business School with a Master of Business Administration degree and is currently the managing partner of the consulting firm of M.M. Friedrich, Heilbronn & Fiszer. He was formerly employed by The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. from 1988 through 1992 as a manager. Mr. Heilbronn graduated from Institut d' Etudes Politiques de Paris in June 1983. From 1984 to 1986, he worked as a financial analyst for Lazard Freres & Co. In addition, during 2009 Mr. Heilbronn became an Associate Professor in Business Strategy at Sciences Po, Paris, France.
Patrick Choël was appointed to the board of directors in June 2006 as an independent director, and is a member of the Audit Committee, Nominating Committee and the Executive Compensation and Stock Option Committee. Mr. Choël is a director of our majority-owned subsidiary, Interparfums SA, and Modellabs, both publicly held companies, and Christian Dior and Guerlain, both privately held companies. He is also the manager of Université 82, a business consultant and advisor. For approximately 10 years, through March 2004, Mr. Choël worked as the President and CEO of two divisions of LVMH, first Parfums Christian Dior, a leading world-wide prestige beauty/fragrances business, and later, the LVMH Perfumes and Cosmetics Division, which included such well-known brands as Parfums Christian Dior, Guerlain, and Parfums Givenchy, among others. Prior to such time, for approximately 30 years, he worked at various executive positions at Unilever, including President and CEO of Elida Fabergé France and President and CEO of Chesebrough Pond’s USA.
Robert Bensoussan has been a Director since March 1997, and also is an independent director. Mr. Bensoussan is a director of J. Choo Limited and is the co-founder of Sirius Equity, a retail and branded luxury goods investment company. In November 2001, he became the Chief Executive Officer of Jimmy Choo Ltd., a luxury shoe and ready to wear accessory company. In 2007 Jimmy Choo Ltd. was sold to a private equity firm. From 1999 to December 2000, he was the Managing Director of Gianfranco Ferre fashion group, based in Milano, Italy. Previously Mr. Bensoussan-Torres was a Director of Towers Consulting Europe, Ltd. Towers Consulting Europe, Ltd. is a consulting company based in London, which specialized in strategic advice in connection with mergers and acquisitions in the luxury goods business. Mr. Bensoussan-Torres was the Chief Executive Officer of Christian Lacroix, Paris, a subsidiary of LVMH Group, from February 1993 until May 1998. Christian Lacroix was a French Haute Couture House and has activities in the field of apparel, accessories and fragrances. From December 1990 through January 1993 he was based in Munich, Germany, as the International Sales Director of The Escada Group.
Michel Dyens is the owner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Michel Dyens & Co., which he founded more than 25 years ago. With headquarters in New York and Paris, Michel Dyens & Co. is a leading independent investment banking firm focused on mergers and acquisitions. Michel Dyens & Co. has vast experience in the luxury goods, beauty, spirits and other premium branded consumer goods in which it has concluded numerous landmark deals. Michel Dyens & Co. has advised in such deals as the sale of the Grey Goose ultra-premium vodka brand to Bacardi, John Frieda Professional Hair Care and Molton Brown to the Kao Company, the Svedka vodka brand to Constellation Brands, Chambord liqueur to Brown-Forman, Harry Winston to Aber Diamond Company and Boucheron to Gucci. Michel Dyens & Co. also has a strong track record of deals in media and internet, including the deals in which AuFeminin was sold to Axel Springer and Cyréalis to M6, among others.
Recently, Michel Dyens & Co. advised the ultra luxury fragrance brand By Killian as well as the Korean skincare Dr. Jart+ brand in the transactions with The Estée Lauder Companies. Michel Dyens & Co. also advised the shareholders of the largest independent hair color and hair care company in Brazil, Niely Cosmeticos in the sale of the company to L’Oréal, as well as advising the owner of the super-premium liqueur St-Germain in the sale of the brand to Bacardi, the Colomer Group (American Crew and CND/Shellac brands) in its sale to Revlon, and Sydney Frank Importing Company in the sale of the company to Jaegermeister. Other recent transactions include the sale of Essie cosmetics business to L’Oréal, the acquisition of the Swiss watchmaker Hublot by LVMH, the sale of TIGI (BedHead and Catwalk brands) to Unilever and the sale of NIOXIN Research Laboratories to Procter & Gamble. Mr. Dyens is also the owner of Varenne Enterprises, a media company which he founded more than 25 years ago. From April 2004 to September 2014, Mr. Dyens was an independent director of Interparfums SA, a majority-owned subsidiary of the Company, which has it shares publicly traded on the Euronext Exchange.
Ms. Gabai-Pinsky, age 53, was elected for the first time to our board in September 2017. She became a director of Interparfums SA in April 2017. She is currently consulting in the beauty, fragrance and accessories business. She was President of Vera Wang Group from January 2016 through June 2018, after a year of consulting with the company and she oversaw all product categories and markets. Prior to joining Vera Wang, from 2006 to December 2014 Ms. Gabai-Pinsky was the Global President for Aramis and Designers Fragrances as well as Beauty Bank and Idea Bank at the Estée Lauder Companies, reporting to the Chief Executive Officer of such company. During her tenure, Ms. Gabai-Pinsky developed and ensured the growth of several beauty and skin care brands, including Lab Series for Men. She was highly instrumental in the evolution of the fragrance category for such company, as she improved its overall business model, globally grew brands such as Donna Karan and Michael Kors, evolved and harmonized the portfolio, divested dilutive brands and brought in Tory Burch, Zegna and Marni under licenses. She ultimately actively participated in the acquisitions of Le Labo, Frederic Malle, and By Kilian and assisted in the transformation of the long-term strategic direction of such company.
In the earlier years of her career, Ms. Gabai-Pinsky served as Vice President of Marketing and Communication for Guerlain, a division of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton S.A., where she led the successful re-launch of Shalimar, the introduction of Aqua Allegoria, and contributed to the re-focus of the beauty category around its pillars, Terracotta, Meteorites and Issima, while redesigning all communication strategies and content. She started her career at L’Oréal, and was also Vice President of Marketing for Giorgio Armani, where she was instrumental in the overall development of its fragrance business by developing the successful Acqua di Gio for men and introducing the Emporio Armani franchise. A graduate from ESSEC Business School in Paris, France, she has received several awards, including Marketer of the Year by Women’s Wear Daily in December 2013.
Ms. Gabai-Pinksy is an independent director, and is a member of the Audit Committee, Executive Compensation and Stock Option Committee and the Nominating Committee of our company. We believe Ms. Gabi-Pinsky is qualified to serve as a member of our board of directors due to her more than 25 years of experience in the luxury, fashion, beauty and fragrance fields, success as a brand builder, creative thinker, business acumen, and a broad understanding of consumers, brands and business models.
Mr. Harrison has more than 50 years of experience in corporate finance and strategic transactions, specializing in the consumer products space. He began his career in 1965 practicing corporate and securities law in New York and Philadelphia. In 1971 he founded Financo, which he grew to become one of the leading independent middle market transaction firms in the country. In 1985, Financo was acquired by Lehman Brothers, where the firm’s primary efforts were focused on increasing its expertise in retail, apparel and other merchandising transactions of all types. At Lehman, Mr. Harrison was Chairman of the Merchandising Group and on the firm’s Investment Banking Operating Committee while continuing as Chairman of Financo, which was renamed the Middle Market Group of Lehman. In 1989, he re-acquired Financo from Lehman, re-establishing Financo as one of the leading investment banking firms handling transactions and providing strategic advice in connection with merchandising companies. Mr. Harrison retired as Chairman of Financo in December of 2017, after which he formed the Harrison Group, a firm that provides consulting and financial advisory services to merchandising and products companies.
Mr. Harrison's other activities include his membership on the Advisory Council of the World Retail Congress, Shoptalk and the Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit. Additionally, he has created a course on mergers and acquisitions at The Wharton School and has published various articles and academic studies on the state of retailing and mergers and acquisitions, including a chapter in the book entitled, “The Mergers and Acquisitions Handbook.” Mr. Harrison lectures throughout the country, including chairing seminars for Retail Week as well as for the International Council of Shopping Centers, the National Retail Federation, Young President's Center, The Wharton Aresty Institute of Executive Education and The President's Association of the American Management Association. He also appears frequently on Bloomberg TV and CNBC as an expert on retail and apparel.
Mr. Harrison received a Bachelor of Science in Economics from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania in 1962 and his Juris Doctor from The University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1965.