The letter to shareholders - N°81 - Spring 2022

Annual General Meeting


This year again brought fruitful discussion between L’Oréal and its shareholders, who were able to ask their questions before and during the Meeting.

Our Sense of Purpose is also likely to attract younger people who are looking for meaningful work as much as career opportunities.

Is it possible to reconcile profitable growth with social and environmental responsibility, diversity and sense of purpose? 

Nicolas Hieronimus : Profitable growth, social and environmental responsibility, diversity and sense of purpose are inseparable and together create real synergy. We live in a world in which consumers will choose products not only based on their quality and superiority – which we are constantly improving through our Research but also according to the company’s values and commitments to the world and society as a whole. As the global beauty leader, L’Oréal has the responsibility and the resources since our financial success allows us to invest in a programme like L’Oréal for the Future(1) to meet all of these goals. They give L’Oréal another competitive advantage over competitors who simply settle for making good products without seeking to improve their impact on the planet and its people. All L’Oréal teams are committed and determined to rise to all of these challenges at the same time.

One of the biggest operational risks stems from the loss of talent. How are you hiring and implementing your HR policy to make sure you retain talent?

Nicolas Hieronimus : I’d like to reassure all our shareholders that we have no problems recruiting. We received over a million applications worldwide in 2021. There are a number of reasons for this: the company’s momentum people like being on a winning team, its reputation Universum ranked L’Oréal number five worldwide in a survey of business school students, its sense of purpose on which we have communicated, is also likely to attract younger people who are looking for meaningful work as much as career opportunities. We hired 13,000 new employees in 2021, in addition to internships, and implemented the L’Oréal for Youth programme to foster youth employment. That is a lot of applications to deal with, which is why we also draw on the latest technology. Nearly half of applications come from social networks like LinkedIn. Our Human Relations teams also use artificial intelligence to help them select candidates, using chatbots to initiate dialogue before switching to direct contact with HR representatives. Our teams then talk to the applicants and strive to recruit the best among them. Three key factors foster loyalty: the quality of assignments and the work environment which we regularly assess and constantly strive to improve compensation which includes long-term incentives, such as the performance-based initiatives involving over 3,600 employees, and training. As the world changes at an incredible pace, we need to continuously enhance skills and train employees in new techniques and new professions. All of our employees received training either online or in person in 2021. We have a well-rounded approach, because we know the key to success lies in hiring and holding onto top talent.

You significantly increased your shareholder base between 2020 and 2021. What did that increase represent in terms of registered shareholders? Are they receptive to the loyalty bonus?

Jean-Paul Agon : The number of individual shareholders is constantly growing. We currently have 208,000 individual shareholders, 54,000 of whom are registered shareholders. In 2021, we had 10,000 new shareholders, including 6,000 bearer shareholders and 4,000 registered shareholders. I can confidently confirm they are most definitely receptive to the 10% loyalty bonus. We are happy with these developments and will continue to encourage this trend, since individual shareholders are key to the company, to dialogue and to the benefits their input can bring. We will continue to build on this momentum going forward.

(1) L’Oréal’s sustainable development programme for 2030.