Women of Endeavor: Rania George, CEO and Vice Chairperson of LUNA Perfumes & Cosmetics
Rania George, CEO and Vice Chairperson of LUNA PAC. Photos by Celine Gamal.
When it comes to the best beauty and personal care products, LUNA is a household name in Egypt. To Rania George, LUNA Perfume and Cosmetic’s CEO and Vice Chairperson, her history with LUNA goes further back to her childhood when she would help her father, George Amin, test the sample products he had formulated.
A chemist and pharmacist, George founded LUNA in 1966 starting off with only a small factory to manufacture a portfolio of products such as their lip moisturizer and other cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. Since its founding, he scaled LUNA to include five subsidiary companies under the brand name: three trading in pharmaceuticals and food industry raw materials, two industrial companies, one of which is LUNA PAC, and another small factory for B2B flavors and fragrances.
Finding her passion in architecture growing up and earning an MA in the field from Cairo University, Rania volunteered to work with the engineers who were finishing the 12,000 square meter factory at the 6th October Industrial Zone where the company is now based. Excelling in her architectural career, Rania never imagined herself running the family business until her father requested she join and take the lead of LUNA PAC in 2010.
“I wasn’t sure I was the right person at the beginning,” said Rania, recalling how she first felt about joining LUNA PAC. “But I knew one thing, I’m very persistent. Nothing intimidates me, it’s in my family genes.”
The challenge of running a company in an unfamiliar industry can be daunting task. “It was a series of crisis management,” recalls Rania. “It took me a long time to assess problems because I had limited tools to assess them with.” However, believing in the great potential of her family business, Rania made it her mission to rejuvenate the brand name by capturing its youthful spirit and further modernizing the company’s structure to take it to the next growth stage.
Under her leadership, LUNA PAC underwent a complete organizational restructure. Rania brought in a new team, invited employees to start making decisions together and worked on building a new management system that would encourage employees to collaborate together.
“It was a learning curve. I saw a lot of people who believed in the company and we all wanted to do something. Every year we had a newer vision and started working on business plans so afterwards things began to move,” shares Rania. Despite challenges at first, the internal transformation began to reflect on the company’s performance as growth figures began to double every couple of years.
In addition to restructuring the company, Rania employed her architectural background to lead LUNA PAC’s product development, innovation initiatives and re-packaging in an ongoing effort to rebrand the company. In the cosmetics industry especially, “being a woman CEO definitely made a great difference,” she says. “Being an architect made a greater difference, it’s because of engineering that I was able to do all of this.”
Between running a company and practicing architecture, Rania also wears the hat of a mother of two. “I compare myself to a Chinese circus. It’s hard and challenging but rewarding in so many ways,” she says laughing about how she manages to juggle so many responsibilities. Nonetheless, she approaches life with vigor and passion, choosing to enjoy it at the fullest.
“I believe so much that we have to empower women because they endure so much between taking care of their families, themselves and excelling in their careers. I mean, these are CEO’s!” says Rania. Around 50% of employees at LUNA are women and Rania makes it a part of her mission to provide women the support they need to flourish in the company. “I see them growing in the company, that is how we give back. I would invite women to express themselves. Women tend to hide their weaknesses in order not to show any signs of emotions or failure, but it’s actually how you should express yourself. Don’t worry about this, be yourself.”
After eight years of transforming LUNA PAC inside out, Rania sees this as just the beginning for the company. Her ultimate goal is for LUNA to make Egyptian customers believe in their local products. “LUNA owes a lot to Egypt. We were the first in the world to create cosmetic products so definitely LUNA has to pay homage to Egypt and I hope that one day LUNA will be among the greatest in the world.”