Yves Rocher, who founded a plant-based cosmetics line which now has a turnover of billions of dollars a year, died in Paris on Saturday, aged 79.
AFP - Yves Rocher, founder of a global cosmetics empire that carried his name and pioneered the use of natural ingredients, died in Paris on Saturday, a spokesman for his company said. He was 79.
The cause of death was not disclosed.
Rocher, who started out selling haemorrhoid ointment through classified ads in a popular French magazine, founded his eponymous company in 1959, basing its growth on the idea of "beauty from plants" and selling by mail order.
The Yves Rocher Group now operates in around 30 countries, with a turnover of two billion euros (2.8 billion dollars) a year, around 15,000 employees and nearly 2,000 retail outlets.
On its website it bills itself "the world leader in botanical beauty care".
In a statement, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Rocher "a great French industrialist, inventor of plant-based cosmetics and pioneer of mail order retail."
Rocher -- a native of La Gacilly in Brittany where he long served as mayor -- "built a company dedicated to female beauty, invested in the growth of sustainable jobs and worked to protect the environment," he said.
Rocher turned over control of the business to his son Didier in 1992, but took it back three years later when the son died in an accident.
The group now boasts more than 40 million customers and markets brands that include Yves Rocher, Daniel Jouvance, Dr Pierre Ricaud, Isabel Derroisne, Kiotis and Galerie Noemie, plus Petit Bateau children's wear.
Date created : 2009-12-26