Highlights from LuxuryLab's first-ever INNOVATION FORUM, an unprecedented event addressing the rapidly changing luxury marketplace.
Held at TheTimesCenter, the forum brought together thought leaders to share never-seen-before research, trends, best practices, and a passion for ideas.
Francois-Henry Bennahmias is President & CEO of Audemars Piguet, The Americas, overseeing all financial, operational, sales, and marketing functions for the brand throughout North and South America including Mexico and the Caribbean.
Born in Paris, Francois-Henry began his career in professional sports, where he ranked as number 25 on the French golf tour. On the tour he developed a keen instinct for the challenge, adventure, and a bold drive for excellence -- attributes that have guided him in his leadership of Audemars Piguet, The Americas.
He refined his experience in the luxury fashion industry working for Giorgio Armani, Les Copains, Reporter, Peter Hadley, and Vilebrequin, where he developed an appreciation for the subtle characteristics of beauty, quality, and timeless innovation, which distinguish each Audemars Piguet timepiece.
Francois-Henry began his career at Audemars Piguet in France in 1994. In less than three years, he was promoted to lead the brand's operations in Singapore, and in 1996 took on added responsibility for Audemars Piguet in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Brunei, Australia, and Malaysia. Since his promotion to North American President in 1999, brand has experienced rapid sales growth and is now positioned as the number one market within the company worldwide. Francois-Henry was also instrumental in establishing the flagship boutiques on New York City's 57th Street (2003) and Bal Harbour Shops in Miami, Florida (2006). The company recently moved its New York Flagship to 135 East 57th Street and doubled its size.
An avid sportsman and relentless competitor, he resides in New York City where he is a devoted father to daughter Carla.
Henry Blodget is the CEO and Editor of The Business Insider, an online business media company based in New York. Blodget is also a host of Yahoo's TechTicker, an online finance show watched by more than 1 million people a month, and a contributor to Bloomberg TV.
He frequently contributes to MSNBC, NPR, The Atlantic, The New York Times, the Financial Times, and other organizations.
Chandler Burr is The New York Times perfume critic, writing its Scent Notes column. He has written two definitive books on scent and perfume, The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume, Obsession, and the Last Mystery of the Senses, about a genius of biophysics and scent, and The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry in Paris & New York, which began as a New Yorker article; it tells two parallel stories of scent creation, on following perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena at Hermès creating Un Jardin sur le Nil, the other a year behind the scenes with Sarah Jessica Parker as she directed the making of Lovely.
Burr speaks around the world on scent and perfume and collaborates with chefs in creating interactive Scent Dinners, master classes in gourmand perfumes and the food-based raw materials (absolutes of cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, pepper) used to make them.
Burr has an M.A. in International Economics & Japanese Political Economy and began his journalism career in the Christian Science Monitor's Southeast Asia bureau in Manila.
His novel, You or Someone Like You, was published in June 2009 by Ecco.
As Group President, The Estee Lauder Companies Inc., John Demsey oversees the Estee Lauder, M·A·C, Tom Ford Beauty, and Prescriptives brands as well as the company's Specialty Group of brands, Bobbi Brown, Jo Malone, and La Mer, which were added to his portfolio in July 2009.
Throughout his career, Demsey has demonstrated a unique ability to establish a brand's authority while continuing to respect its heritage. By continually developing innovative products, cultivating new markets, and establishing an unprecedented link between fashion, beauty, and entertainment, he has led the brands in his portfolio to unparalleled growth and expansion.
In 2005 and 2006, Demsey served as Global Brand President of Estee Lauder and M.A.C, while also assuming responsibility for Sean John, Tom Ford Beauty, and Prescriptives. From 1998 to 2005, he served as President of M.A.C, where he grew the brand into a global makeup powerhouse. Prior to that, Demsey held several positions with Estee Lauder, including Senior Vice President, Sales and Education, Estee Lauder USA and Canada, where he was instrumental in expanding the brand's business and increasing market share. Prior to that, he was Vice President, Sales, in the West Coast region.
Before joining The Estee Lauder Companies he worked as Vice President of Sales at the specialty division of Revlon and also held various executive positions with Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Benetton, and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Demsey serves as Chairman of the M.A.C AIDS Fund, which has raised over $140 million through sales of the VIVA GLAM lipstick line and other initiatives. He is also an active participant in several AIDS-related organizations, including the Fashion Group International Advisory Board; Advisory Council of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS; Honorary Board of Love Heals; Love Heals, The Alison Gertz Foundation for AIDS Education; Executive Advisory Board of the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation; and AIDS Project Los Angeles.
Demsey earned his M.B.A. from New York University and a B.S. degree from Stanford University.
Cindy Gallop is Founder & CEO of IfWeRanTheWorld, a web meets world platform that turns good intentions into action, one microaction at a time, which launched in beta with a demo at TED 2010. She is also the founder of www.makelovenotporn.com, launched at TED 2009.
Cindy’s background is brand building, marketing and advertising. She started up the US office of ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty in New York in 1998 and in 2003 was named Advertising Woman of the Year. She acts as board advisor to a number of tech startups and consults for companies around the world, describing her consultancy approach as "I like to blow shit up. I am the Michael Bay of business."
She has a reputation as a highly compelling and inspirational speaker at conferences and events around the world on a variety of topics: her talk on ‘The Future of Advertising’ has been described on Twitter as "The most brilliant speech on the future of advertising ever – not the usual buzzword-laden bullshit." She published ‘Make Love Not Porn: Technology’s Hardcore Impact on Human Behavior’ as one of TED’s line of TEDBooks and is currently working on a book about her philosophy of life and business.
Scott Harrison spent 10 years as a New York City party promoter, throwing fashion and music events at top nightclubs for the likes of MTV, VH1, ABC TV, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Universal Records, Island Records, Bacardi, and Anheuser-Busch. In the fall of 2004, he returned to his childhood Christian faith and left nightlife to volunteer with a team of humanitarian doctors and surgeons onboard a hospital ship in Liberia, Africa. Armed with a pair of Nikons, Harrison spent eight months as the ship's volunteer photojournalist, documenting the incredible need he saw there.
Returning home to New York City a year later, he produced a large exhibition in Chelsea of more than 100 photographs and videos from the journey. The show gathered major media attention and brought in more than $96,000 in donations for medical procedures and freshwater well projects in Africa.
Following another six-month journey on the ship to West Africa, he returned to New York City to found the non-profit organization charity: water. Turning his full attention to the global water crisis and the 1.1 billion people without clean water to drink, he and a small team created exhibitions in galleries and outdoor parks, online campaigns, and nationally-aired public service announcements.
In three years, with the help of more than 60,000 donors from 200 countries and 300+ media mentions, charity: water has raised not only massive awareness, but more than $10 million, funding more than 1,400 water projects in 16 developing nations. Those projects will provide over 700,000 people with clean, safe drinking water.
Peter C. Horan is CEO of Goodmail Systems, Inc. He was formerly CEO of IAC Media & Advertising, where he oversaw IAC Advertising Solutions as well as Evite, Pronto, IAC Mobile, and Ask Sponsored Listings, and CEO of AllBusiness.com, Inc., where he was responsible for driving a fast-growing web media and e-commerce content business. Under his leadership, AllBusiness.com led the development of a completely new publishing platform for small businesses, while continuing to achieve accelerated site performance.
From 2003 to 2005, Horan served as CEO of About.com where he pioneered the company's turnaround, transforming it into the fastest growing large site on the web. He also led the sale of the property to the New York Times Company for $410 million in 2005. Prior to About.com, he served as President and CEO of DevX.com, Inc., an Internet media company that was later acquired by JupiterMedia Corporation. Mr. Horan spent 10 years at International Data Group, a leading global technology media company, where he spearheaded relationships with top advertisers on a worldwide basis, and also served as Senior Vice President and Publisher of Computerworld.
Prior to that, Horan spent more than 15 years in senior account management roles at leading advertising agencies, including BBDO and Ogilvy & Mather.
He has a B.A. in English from Santa Clara University and an M.B.A. from San Francisco State University. Horan has keynoted many internet industry events and is a frequent speaker and commentator on internet, and media and advertising topics.
He is on the board of directors of the Interactive Advertising Bureau and was formerly on the board of directors of the Online Publishers Association.
Martin Nisenholtz was named Senior Vice President, Digital Operations for The New York Times Company in February 2005. He is responsible for the strategy development, operations, and management of The New York Times Company's digital properties, including About.com, whose acquisition was announced in February 2005.
Nisenholtz was CEO of New York Times Digital from 1999 to 2005 and President of The New York Times Electronic Media Company from 1995 to 1999. In that role, he was the founding leader at NYTimes.com. Nisenholtz is an active leader in the advertising and publishing industry. He is Founder and Executive Committee Member of the Online Publishers Association and serves on the board of directors of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the Ad Council, and YPG General Partner Inc.
Nisenholtz received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree from UPenn's Annenberg School of Communication.
Ron Pompei began his creative exploration as an artist, creating light art installations and sculptures that Philadelphia magazine cited as "changing the face of Philadelphia." Since then, as principal of the New York City-based creative services firm Pompei A.D., Pompei has gone on to do equally groundbreaking work in architecture, design, experience branding, and cultural entrepreneurship. Pompei's design philosophy is centered on C3: Commerce, Culture, and Community, the so-called "third place" outside of home and work, where social interaction is facilitated by commerce and culture. He believes C3 can revitalize many suburban and urban venues and transform them into meeting places where people can shop, learn and socialize.
Pompei's multidisciplinary education and training as an artist, sculptor, and architect is the lifeblood of Pompei A.D.'s holistic approach to its projects, enabling the firm to integrate diverse forms of expression into meaningful transformational experiences. This innovative firm has collaborated with a wide spectrum of clients including IKEA, Sony, Coca-Cola, Kmart, The Discovery Channel, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Rubin Museum of Art, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, Fortune magazine, Harley Davidson, California Academy of Sciences, Levi's, Herman Miller, and MTV. Pompei's visionary approach to his work has been recognized by publications such as The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Fortune, Business Week Online, Interior Design, Blueprint, Metropolis, Fast Company, and the Financial Times.
Ron is also a respected and popular featured speaker at industry, branding, and educational venues, including Principal Voices (CNN, Fortune magazine, and Time Inc.), Kjaer Global, Style-Vision, Wharton School of Business, GEL Conference, BBC Digital Futures, Urban Land Institute, and VM SD's International Retail Design Conference.
Gina Sanders has been Vice President and Publisher of Lucky magazine since January 2008. Prior to joining Lucky, she was the founding Publisher of Teen Vogue, a position she held since 2002.
Launched in February 2003, Teen Vogue has been consistently recognized for its success: named to Adweek's Hot List in 2006 and 2007, Ad Age's A-List 2005 and Adweek's 2005 10 Under 50 List. In 2005, Ms. Sanders was named Conde Nast's Publisher of the Year.
Previously, Ms. Sanders was Publisher of Gourmet from 1997 to 2002 and was named Vice President in June 2000. Prior to Gourmet, she worked at Details, where she began as Advertising Director in 1993, and subsequently served as Publisher from 1994 to 1997.
She joined Conde Nast as an Account Manager at House & Garden in 1988. Before she began her magazine career, Ms. Sanders worked for six years in the advertising industry in Boston and New York.
Bart Sayer is a Principal in Booz & Company's Consumer, Media & Digital practice, based in the firm's New York office. Sayer has seven years consulting experience helping clients successfully implement strategically driven change, with an emphasis on brand strategy and top-line revenue growth. Sayer focuses on working with clients across the consumer packaged goods, retail and media sectors on building world-class sales and marketing capabilities, including several leading luxury brands.
Recent client engagements have focused on issues such as helping marketers develop new capabilities for digital and in-store marketing to drive sales growth, helping retailers and marketers better harness social media to build consumer relationships and branded experiences, and helping media businesses build marketing solutions and lead generation platforms.
Todd Selby is a world-renowned portrait, interiors, and fashion photographer. His popular photo project The Selby offers an insider's view of creative individuals in their personal spaces with an artist's eye for detail.
The Selby began in June 2008 as a website, www.theselby.com, where Selby posted photo shoots he did of his friends in their homes. Requests quickly began coming in daily from viewers all over the world who wanted their homes to be featured on the site. The Selby's website became so popular (with up to 35,000 unique visitors daily) that within months, top companies from around the world began asking to collaborate. These joint projects have included a large ad campaign and web project with Nike 6.0, a solo show at colette, an international ad campaign for Habitat, work for T: The New York Times Style Magazine and frequent contributions to Vogue Paris and Architectural Digest France.
Selby's first book, The Selby is In Your Place, will be released in May 2010 by Abrams.
Greg is the founder of SocialChorus, the leading advocates marketing company. Greg has helped brands and consumers connect online since the early days of the Internet. 2Market, a Silicon Valley start-up that he co-founded, pioneered the development of interactive shopping before being acquired by AOL in 1995. In the past, he has worked at Sun Microsystems, Apple Computer and AOL. He likes to play soccer, collect photos and cook.