Johnson Products Company Sold

Style News Wire | 4/2/2009, 8:17 p.m.
Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE: PG) has sold its Johnson Products Company unit, one of the world’s most recognized market ...

The company will operate as Johnson Products Company. The new management team will be led by two industry veterans with strong ties to the business, husband and wife team, Eric Brown and Renee Cottrell-Brown. They have extensive experience in the ethnic hair care arena, having both held senior executive positions with the Pro-Line International, Inc. subsidiary of Alberto-Culver Company (NYSE:ACV). Brown will serve as chief executive officer, with Cottrell-Brown as executive vice president.

Founded in 1954 by George Ellis Johnson, Sr., Johnson Products, formerly headquartered in Chicago, has been a mainstay brand for more than a half-century in the African-American community. In 1971, the company became the first minority-run enterprise to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Today, Johnson Products offers more than 30 hair care products, including the Gentle Treatment and Ultra Sheen brands. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles, with offices in Dallas.

“The acquisition of Johnson Products represents the renewal of a family of products that revolutionized the ethnic hair care industry starting in the 1950s, and a next stage of growth for a legendary company that has been an iconic figure and model of success for African-Americans,” Brown said. “The new Johnson Products Company will provide us with a platform to bring product innovations and promotions to a unique multi-cultural consumer group and reintroduce the brands to a new generation. We have an outstanding, motivated team, and we are extremely excited and optimistic about the future of this new venture.”

Johnson Products has annualized sales of more than $23 million. Its products are sold throughout the United States and participate in a global market that the company estimates to be approximately $1.8 billion.

The management team brings more than 55 years of experience to the newly formed company. It has helped launched some of the industry’s most successful ethnic hair care brands, including the Soft & Beautiful, Comb-Thru and Just-For-Me product lines, all part of Pro-Line International. Brown most recently was president of Pro-Line International, which has been part of Alberto-Culver Company since 2000. In January 2004, Brown moved into a corporate position with Alberto-Culver as vice president global business development, where he was instrumental in consummating global licensing, distribution, acquisition and divesture opportunities for many of Alberto-Culver’s global brands.

Brown is joined by Renee Cottrell-Brown, who since 2006 operated a marketing consulting firm, Streetwise Marketing Solutions, based in Arlington, TX, which provides marketing services to startups and small-to-medium growth companies that market multi-cultural personal care products. She previously held a 25-year career with Pro-Line Corporation and Pro-Line International, most recently as global vice president of retail marketing.

“It makes me extremely happy to know that the brands of Johnson Products will be owned by people who understand the African-American consumer market and care about the brands,” said founder Johnson, 82, whose company became part Procter & Gamble in 2003 with its acquisition of Wella AG. "Eric Brown and Renee Cottrell-Brown will be successful in re-energizing the company, and I wish them the very best in their endeavors."