Gryphon and Portfolio Company News

Milani Cosmetics Announces Grace Ray as CEO

San Francisco, CA -

Announcement Marks Next Chapter of Brand Growth

Milani Cosmetics (Milani Group LLC, or “the Company”), a leading “masstige” beauty company, announces Grace Ray as Chief Executive Officer, effective July 31, replacing current interim CEO, Michelle Taylor, who will move into the Chairman of the Board role at the Company. Ms. Taylor replaces Dennis O’Brien, Partner at Gryphon Investors, who served as interim Chairman after Gryphon acquired a majority stake in Milani in June of this year.

Grace Ray is an accomplished executive within the beauty industry. She most recently served as CEO of haircare company, Living Proof, where she oversaw and executed dramatic growth in brand awareness, sales, and profitability. Ms. Ray played an integral role in Living Proof’s sale to Unilever, in 2016. Ms. Ray has also held senior leadership positions at Smashbox Cosmetics and L’Oréal.

“We are delighted to have Grace join Milani Cosmetics as CEO. She brings extraordinary experience to the team and has a successful track record of stewarding private companies towards achieving their growth potential and transforming them into highly desirable brands,” says Ms. Taylor. “Her background with both cosmetics and beauty businesses gives her an important knowledge base of the levers required for growth in a modern makeup brand.”

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to guide this fast-growing indie brand and build upon its already proven successes and reputation for creating high-quality makeup for discerning multi-cultural consumers. Milani is smartly positioned in the fast-growing “masstige” category where we can offer high quality and good value without having to compromise on either. This is exactly what consumers want today. It is important that we continue to introduce new innovations, enforce our strong retailer relationships, invest in consumer pull, and grow our international markets,” says Ms. Ray.

The Milani Cosmetics team is looking forward to the next chapter of the company’s evolution and expansion with Ms. Ray at the helm. Former owners and current stakeholders, Ralph Bijou and Laurie Minc, who took part in the selection process alongside Gryphon Investors, are excited to have an accomplished industry expert, such as Ms. Ray, lead the brand to new heights of success.

About Milani Cosmetics

Milani, headquartered in Los Angeles, is a market leader in the cosmetics industry, best known for its top quality products for women of all skin tones and beauty goals. The company began with the creation of Jordana Cosmetics in 1986 and grew with the purchase of Milani in 2001. Milani products are primarily manufactured in the U.S. and Italy. The company’s face, lip and eye products are available in 75 countries and through key domestic retailer partners including Walmart, Walgreens, Ulta, Target, and CVS. Please visit for more information.

About Gryphon Investors

Based in San Francisco, Gryphon Investors ( is a leading private equity firm focused on profitably growing and competitively enhancing middle-market companies in partnership with experienced management. Managing over $4 billion of equity investments and capital since 1997, the firm has an extensive track record of leading equity investments of $50 million to $200 million per portfolio company with sales ranging from approximately $100 million to $500 million. Gryphon prioritizes investment opportunities where it can form proactive partnerships with owners and executives to build leading companies, utilizing Gryphon’s capital, specialized professional resources, and operational expertise. Gryphon closed its fourth private equity buyout fund, Gryphon IV, L.P., in November 2016 at $1.1 billion, and raised a $100 million captive mezzanine fund, Gryphon Mezzanine Partners, L.P., in August 2017.


Heather Arnold

Behrman Communications