After deciding to resign from his position as Kao Salon Division’s global president earlier this year, we caught up Cory Couts to discuss his time leading the Goldwell, KMS, Oribe and VARIS brands, what he will miss most and how he knows Dominic Pratt is the right fit to serve as the company’s new leader.
Can you tell us about how you got your start in the industry?
My start in the industry was quite accidental. When I was in my 20s living in San Francisco, a close friend of mine who was a hairdresser wanted to open a rather large salon in Union Square and asked me to help write a business plan. This started a chain of events that led me to managing the salon for five years and learning about the industry and the talented people that work in it. At the time, there was no way to know just how amazing the journey would be.
How are you feeling about leaving the Kao family? What will you miss the most?
Leaving Kao brings mixed emotions. I’m certainly happy to be able go home to Los Angeles, as I have been away for so long, and excited for what the future may bring but I will miss working daily with the incredible and dedicated team at Kao. However, I know in my heart that friendships transcend companies and, especially via social media, I will be able to stay in touch with all members of the Kao Family. I also take great comfort in knowing that the company is in great hands with its new president Dominic Pratt and I look forward to seeing what he will create and do moving forward.
What was it like serving as the company’s global president for nearly a decade?
It was certainly an honour. When I look back, I reflect mostly on how much I’ve learned from the team and our customers, as well as how far we have come as a company and as brands. Every day was a mini-adventure and another step in a much larger quest.
What has been your proudest accomplishment during your time with Kao?
My proudest accomplishment is quite simply that I’m leaving the company, teams and brands better than I found them. In my early days in the industry, when we would prep for a show at a borrowed salon in a new city, my message to the team was, “Let’s leave this salon cleaner than we found it” and I think that concept can apply to many life situations. Additionally, I take pride in knowing that I had a positive impact on people’s lives and careers. My hope is that the people of Kao Salon Division have found new opportunities under my leadership and always felt (and continue to feel) encouraged, safe and heard.
How do you think Dominic’s previous experience and knowledge will serve him in this new endeavour?
Dominic’s experience makes him more than ready to meet this challenge. Of course, he’s famous for leading our extraordinary R&D and bringing many of our greatest innovations to life, but he’s also very connected to the business. He has served on the Executive Salon Lead Team and has been instrumental in the creation of our growth strategies. Dominic is well-known and respected in our company and has the trust of the entire team.