Sexy Hair
Our Team
Our Team
Rafe Hardy, Artistic Creative Director

Hardy is literally the “face” of Sexy Hair, attracting a global following as he demonstrates his great artistry and motivational skills at hair shows all over the world. The charismatic, award-winning hairdresser and educator was hired as platform artist by Sexy Hair founder Michael O’Rourke in 2000 and studied under him for over a decade, working his way up through the ranks as master educator/platform artist, then director of the Michael O’Rourke Institute of Courage Sexy Hair’s premier educational facility, before reaching his current position in 2007.

A former salon owner with 25 years’ experience in the professional beauty industry, Hardy oversees Sexy Hair’s creative team, creating and teaching stylists the company’s twice-yearly haircut collections and developing new show formats. In collaboration with Sexy Hair Director of Education Marlene Amezcua, Hardy is also responsible for the curriculum at the Michael O’Rourke Institute of Courage.

“I want to ensure that Sexy Hair continues to be an industry trendsetter – creatively, technically and visually,” he says, describing his style as “commercial with a modern edge.” Hardy finds his work supremely rewarding. “Hair design is an art form that lets you achieve quick results for your efforts and change someone’s life – or at least feel better about themselves,” he says. “I love providing a service that affects people every day, and continuing to enhance the quality of hairdressers’ lives.”

Karl-Heinz Pitsch, President and CEO

Pitsch brings more than 20 years of experience in the professional beauty industry to Sexy Hair’s top position, including considerable expertise in international marketing.

Since he became president and CEO in April 2009, the German-born executive has streamlined the company’s product offerings from 11 lines to seven and developed his plan to move the company away from celebrity-oriented consumer advertising to focus instead on stylists, “whose recommendations drive professional hair care,” he says. In 2010, Sexy Hair is reaching out to stylists through trade advertising and a major investment in education, supporting three times more field events than last year, including a 40-city U.S. “Sexy Rocks” tour, plus new online training classes in both business and hairstyling.x

Under Pitsch’s leadership, Sexy Hair experienced significant growth in 2009 – nearly five percent – at a time when hair care sales overall were down ten percent. “With its very distinct branding and broad distribution base, Sexy Hair is uniquely positioned for future growth, even in times of uncertainty on the consumer side,” he says.

Before joining Sexy Hair as chief operating officer in 2008, Pitsch was general manager of Estee Lauder’s premium brand Bumble and bumble™, and group president of the North and Latin American divisions of the Wella Corporation, where he was responsible for brands including Wella, Sebastian®, Graham Webb and Belvedere.

Mark Milner, Chief Financial Officer

 With more than 25 years of diverse financial management and executive leadership experience in various industries, including beauty and apparel, Milner brings extensive knowledge in management, business leadership as well as an established record of success in growing enterprise value.  In his role as Chief Financial Officer for Sexy Hair, he directs all financial aspects of the business and administrative operations including finance, human resources and information technology.

Prior to joining Sexy Hair, he spent eight years as the Chief Financial Officer of Superba, a division of Phillips Van Heusen Corp, and four years as the Vice President of Finance for Joico International. 

Milner graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Alicia Burnett, Vice President, International Sales

Sexy Hair was Burnett’s introduction to the beauty industry, in 1993. She joined the company in its infancy, in administration/customer support, and rose rapidly through the ranks. By beginning on the ground floor, Burnett had the rare opportunity to learn every facet of the business, from shipping to sales.

In her current position since 2000, Burnett has increased international sales over 1,000 percent and established relationships with distributor partners on six continents and in more than 40 countries.

“My tenure at Sexy Hair has been the most educating and exhilarating experience of my professional life,” she says. “I am blessed to have the chance to work with such creative, dynamic and committed people – and make the world Sexier every day!”

Jennifer Parks, Senior Vice President of National Accounts

Since joining Sexy Hair in 2001, Parks has been instrumental in increasing the company’s presence in the domestic marketplace. She has consistently exceeded sales goals and increased Sexy Hair’s national accounts business by 3,616 percent. Her dedication to her customers has earned Parks and her team four Vendor of the Year awards – two from Minneapolis-based Beauty First, in 2005 and 2007, and two from Beauty Brands in Kansas City, in 2006 and 2008.

“Sexy Hair has a very strong team-oriented culture,” she says. “From the top down, we all roll up our sleeves to make things happen.”

A 25-year veteran of the professional beauty industry, Parks worked in sales at L’Anza and Sebastian International before joining Sexy Hair.

John Fortunato, Vice President of Distributor Sales

Fortunato believes he has an “affinity” for sales. Over the years, he’s developed a proven track record of achieving high performance through strong leadership and cohesive team building in addition to developing sound business strategies and budget management.

In Italian, fortunato means lucky or fortunate. Fortunato believes that it is a true representation of how he feels working with the Sexy Hair team. “I love what I do,” said Fortunato. “And I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with a talented group of individuals that share my love and passion for the industry.”

Fortunato has worked for other leading hair care companies including Kao Professionals (both Goldwell - US & KMS California - US), P&G Professional Care and The Wella Corporation.

Jose Larios, Vice President of Operations and Supply Chain

Larios joined Sexy Hair with extensive senior management experience under his belt including his role as site leader for the operations and supply chain organization supporting the Neutrogena Brand, a Johnson & Johnson family of companies with more than $1.3 billion in net sales that develops, manufactures and markets premium skin and hair care products worldwide.

“At a time when I was searching for change, [Sexy Hair’s] unique brand identity, its strength both nationally and internationally in addition to outstanding growth initiatives, made it the best choice for me,”said Larios. “I am pleased to be part of the Sexy Hair team.”

Marlene Amezcua, Director of Education/Shows

Amezcua brings nearly three decades of professional beauty industry experience to her role of managing the direction of education and show formats for Sexy Hair and developing and overseeing the company’s outstanding team of international artists and educators. Collaborating with Artistic Creative Director Rafe Hardy, Amezcua is responsible for the curriculum at the Michael O’Rourke Institute of Courage, Sexy Hair’s premier educational facility.

Besides working in education at the Wella Corporation and Sebastian International, Amezcua was a salon owner for 11 years, so she knows first hand the challenges salon owners face and the satisfaction of overcoming those challenges. Also a well-rounded platform artist, she honed her skills as an effective public speaker and participated in photo shoots, commercials, print work and trade shows alongside some of the industry’s most accomplished professionals.

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