Burt's Bees has a new boss.
Parent corporation Clorox appointed 15-year veteran Nick Vlahos as vice president and general manager of the Durham-based personal-care products company.
He replaces John Replogle, who unexpectedly stepped down as CEO in February to join Seventh Generation, a Burlington, Vt., company that makes environmentally friendly household products.
Vlahos' role and new title reinforces that Clorox is in control of Burt's, known for its lip balms, lotions and other products made mostly from natural ingredients. Replogle had been CEO before Clorox bought the company three years ago for $925 million.
Vlahos, 43, is an Indiana University graduate who joined Clorox in 1995 as a sales manager. He previously was vice president of the company's Laundry, Brita and Green Works brands.
He takes over Burt's as the company is seeing some signs of recovery. Its business, which depends largely on discretionary consumer spending, took a hit during the economic downturn, especially in the United States.
In January, Clorox announced that it would take a charge of up to $255 million to write down the value of Burt's, essentially admitting that it overpaid for the business.
But Burt's, which employs about 350 people in Durham, saw sales growth rebound last year. Under Replogle, it increased marketing through Facebook and other social media, and is expanding into new markets in Asia, Europe and Latin America. The division, while still a small part of Clorox revenue, is its fastest-growing business.
Vlahos takes the reins from Replogle, who was a vocal and visible advocate for Burt's environmentally friendly products and "Living the Greater Good" workplace culture.
"I'm honored to join the team and to build on the Burt's Bees way of doing business -- strong natural innovation, passionate relationships with consumers and an evergreen commitment to the Greater Good," Vlahos said in a statement.
On April 16, he will speak at Earth Day festivities in downtown Raleigh. That event has become an annual bash for Burt's, which holds a massive tent sale, and encourages recycling and other green efforts.
Vlahos wasn't available for further comment. This week, he's in Oakland, Calif., where Clorox has its headquarters, said Burt's spokeswoman Mariah Kulp. Vlahos is planning to move his family to the Triangle.