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The only beauty brand whose saga roughly imitates that of a Shakespearean drama is back with an update: Longtime co-CEO Nicola Kilner has returned to Deciem.
Brandon Truaxe, the founder of cult beauty brand the Ordinary and its parent company Deciem, posted a selfie of himself and Kilner on the morning of July 3, writing, “Our co-worker is back—but never behind. We love you, @nicolalkilner. You’ll always be our only —and always stronger than any can ever hope to be or become.”
Kilner confirmed to Racked that she was “very happy” that she had indeed resumed her post as a “co-worker,” as Truaxe likes to describe his employees.
It’s been quite a year for Truaxe, whose bizarre antics made headlines back in February when he took over Deciem’s Instagram to post increasingly personal messages in the captions. Thanks to the increased scrutiny on the company, people on Reddit then began posting links to negative Glassdoor reviews, accusing the company of bullying, nepotism, sexual harassment, and more. Sources who spoke to Racked also described a deeply chaotic workplace.
But through all that, it seemed as though Truaxe and Kilner were a united front, which is why Kilner’s departure, along with CFO Stephen Kaplan, later that month came as such a shock. The circumstances were unclear at the time, and Deciem refused to confirm this that Kilner had indeed been let go.
Then, in April, Kilner shared in an interview with Elle that she was still reeling from the firing. “It was such an intense relationship. We were inseparable,” she said at the time. “It’s his choice. His decision. I don’t think you get fired from a job when you’re doing a good job. But with Brandon, it was never [just about] business. It was much more personal.”
Truaxe, for his part, was still denying he had fired her. When asked by Racked whether he had any regrets about firing Kilner — whose mother was and still is employed by Deciem in the UK — he replied, “Absolutely not, because I didn’t fire Nicola. She basically left on her own. When she came back, I gave her a choice. I said look, let’s forgive each other. And then she said, ‘Okay, I’m happy now, but you need to fire Shamin [Mohamed, the director of operations, with whom Kilner had a disagreement].’ Look at the immensity! I don’t have a word for it. So no. She led herself to that pathway. I gave her two years of severance. She is being paid for two years to go relax. It wasn’t anger; it was peace.” (Kilner also confirmed she had received the severance.)
Though it’s unclear what, if anything, will change within the company, it certainly means that Deciem is still living up to its self-proclaimed nickname: the Abnormal Beauty Company.