Ulta Beauty gets CEO makeover

Ulta Beauty announced that Mary Dillon will be the company's new CEO. She begins her new role July 1, at which time interim CEO Dennis Eck will step down.

Eck has been interim CEO since February, when Chuck Rubin stepped down as president, CEO and director to become CEO at arts and crafts specialty retailer Michaels.

“After conducting a thorough and robust search process, the board believes that Mary is the ideal person to lead Ulta Beauty as we enter our next phase of growth,” said Eck. “Mary brings strategic vision, a rich consumer marketing background, strong operational experience and a passion for the customer. Her experience with developing national brands, her expertise in the digital world, and her track record in building strong teams will all be important assets for Ulta Beauty. After spending the last several months working closely with the management team, I am certain that Mary will be an excellent cultural fit for the organization and lead Ulta Beauty to the next level.” 

“With nearly three decades of experience leading consumer-driven businesses, Mary has the necessary leadership skills, experience as a public company CEO and keen understanding of how to execute a successful digital strategy that will complement Ulta Beauty’s talented team to drive continued growth and success,” said non-executive chairman of the board Ken Stevens.

Dillon was president and CEO of U.S. Cellular, where she was also a director since June 2010. Dillon led the $4 billion national wireless carrier to develop new channels of distribution and revenue initiatives, implement an omnichannel strategy and strengthen e-commerce platforms. She is credited with driving improvements in marketing execution, creating an innovation process and strengthening relationships with key vendors to deliver more competitive offerings and launches. 

“I am delighted to be joining a company with such a strong track record and tremendous growth opportunities and am excited to be part of the dynamic beauty industry,” said Dillon. “Ulta Beauty has set itself apart in the industry — it has always placed a real premium on the customer experience while simultaneously innovating and adapting to changes in the market. The company is well positioned for the future and I look forward to working closely with Ulta Beauty’s excellent leadership team and 16,000 dedicated associates to build on its proven growth strategies.” 

She was also global CMO and EVP for McDonald's Corporation. Prior to joining McDonald's, Dillon was an executive at PepsiCo, where she held various positions of increasing responsibility, including president of the Quaker Foods division.

Dillon served as chair and executive committee member for CTIA, the Wireless Association. Dillon received a bachelor of science in marketing and Asian studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

Additionally, Dillon sat on the Target board since 2007, but resigned her spot there following her CEO appointment. 

Ulta Beauty is a beauty retailer that offers more than 20,000 products across the categories of cosmetics, fragrance, hair care, skincare, bath and body products and salon styling tools, as well as salon hair care products. Ulta Beauty also offers a full-service salon in all of its stores. The company operates 576 retail stores across 46 states and also distributes its products through the e-commerce site.