Richelieu Dennis

Founder, CEO and Executive Chairman Sundial Brands

Entrepreneur, investor and social impact innovator Richelieu Dennis has a passion for entrepreneurship that traces back to his family’s roots in Africa and is sustained by a mission to fill unmet consumer needs globally. As founder, CEO and Executive Chairman of Sundial Brands, his vision has resulted in the 27-year-old family founded-and-operated manufacturing company’s success as the maker of top hair, natural, bar soap and bath and body brands via SheaMoisture and Nubian Heritage, as well as prestige beauty brands – Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture and Nyakio.
In November 2017, Richelieu architected a first-of-its-kind deal in the beauty and personal care industry with the landmark acquisition of Sundial Brands by Unilever – marking the largest natural personal care deal ever in the U.S. and the largest consumer products deal by a majority black-owned company. As part of this purpose-driven agreement, he and Unilever created a groundbreaking US$100 million New Voices Fund to invest in and empower women of color entrepreneurs.
Through Richelieu’s leadership, Sundial operates under a purpose-driven business model called Community Commerce, has been certified as a B Corp and holds a Fair for Life social and fair trade certification.
Richelieu is also founder and Chair of Essence Ventures, an independent African-American owned company focused on merging content, community and commerce to meet the evolving cultural and lifestyle needs of women of color. In January 2018, the company announced its acquisition of Essence Communications Inc. from Time Inc. – reestablishing ESSENCE as a 100% black-owned company.
Richelieu has been named by OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network to its “SuperSoul 100” list celebrating a dynamic group of 100 trailblazers using their power to move the world forward; by Fast Company as one of the “Most Creative People in Business”; and by Babson as a Lewis Institute Changemaker for challenging the status quo and creating positive social change.
In December 2017, the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, conferred upon Richelieu one of the nation’s highest honors – distinction of Knight Commander, admitting him into the Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of the Pioneers.