Eric Sung-Tsei Chen, the founder and chief creative officer of Markwins Beauty Brands, died at age 63.
The passing was unexpected, due to respiratory illness, announced Markwins on Thursday.
Born in Taiwan, Chen founded the privately held, Industry, Calif.-based company 37 years ago as a young business school graduate. He launched with The Color Workshop and The Color Institute, before building a portfolio that now includes Wet ‘n’ Wild, Physicians Formula, Lorac, Bonne Bell, Lip Smacker, Black Radiance and POP. Today, with more than 5,000 employees, Markwins brands are found in more than 50,000 retail locations and available across six continents and in more than 60 countries.
Chen, a husband, father and grandfather, often referred to his team as “family” through the years.
“People make the difference [in a company] and you have to treat people with heart,” Chen told WWD in 2018. “I always play a supporting role to make sure [my employees] reach their dreams.”
Lina Chen will continue to act as chairman and chief executive officer of Markwins Beauty Brands, while John Stephenson manages everyday operations. The executive team also includes Eric Weeks, president of sales for North America; Giancarlo Di Majo, managing director of Markwins international sales; Jane Chen, chief operating officer of manufacturing divisions; Julie Hsu, executive vice president of finance; Alice Chen, senior vice president of marketing and head of corporate communications; Elaine Chen, senior vice president of marketing, and Emily Huang, senior vice president of marketing.