L'Oreal wants Google executive on its board to boost web sales

Clichy, France - L'Oreal, the world's biggest cosmetics company, said Friday it wants a leading Google executive to join its board to help the company boost online sales.

If L'Oreal's annual shareholders meeting on April 20 accepts management's recommendation, Eileen Naughton, Google's managing director and vice president for UK and Ireland sales and operations, will join the board, replacing former Renault chairman Louis Schweitzer.

"It's very important to have someone who can help the group navigate the digital world," L'Oreal chairman Jean-Paul Agon told an earnings news conference.

"We chose her because she's a great lady, very perspicacious, with great experience," he said.

"I don't know whether (internet giants) will one day be our competitors, but for now they're excellent partners," he said.

Agon said social networks and the growing "selfie" trend were important factors for growth in the beauty products sector, calling digital business "a fantastic new dimension".

One quarter of L'Oreal's PR budget is already destined for the internet, and the company has hired 1,000 new staff in the past three years to boost its online presence.

L'Oreal's online sales were 1.3 billion euros (US$1.5 billion) last year, up 38 per cent from 2014.

But this still only represents 5 per cent of overall sales.