Richelieu Dennis

Entrepreneur, investor & philanthropist Richelieu Dennis’ passion for entrepreneurship and innovation traces back to his family’s roots in Africa and is sustained by a vision to fill unmet consumer needs around the world. As the founder, CEO and Executive Chairman of Sundial Brands, his passion has resulted in the company’s success today as the maker of top hair, natural, bar soap and bath and body brands via its SheaMoisture & Nubian Heritage lines, as well as its newest brands Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture hair care line and Nyakio skin care line.

In 2017, Dennis architected the landmark acquisition of Sundial Brands by Unilever. This became the largest natural personal care deal ever in the U.S. and the largest consumer products deal by a majority black owned company. Dennis and Unilever also created the $100 million New Voices Fund to invest in and empower women of color entrepreneurs.

Through the Community Commerce business model, Sundial’s purpose-driven way of doing business, the company equips underserved people and communities with access to the opportunities and resources that enable them to create lasting value for themselves and others. From supply chains, to executive education and investment for girls and women of color entrepreneurs, to partnerships with nonprofits and NGOs, Sundial’s Community Commerce efforts are building stronger, self-sustaining communities and enterprises around the world.

Sundial is a certified B Corp company and holds a Fair for Life social and fair-trade certification. It was named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. and received the 2015 WWD/Beauty Inc. Corporate Social Responsibility of the Year Award. Sundial has also received numerous accolades from Allure, Black Enterprise, Better Nutrition, Ebony, Esquire, Essence, Family Circle, Life & Style, Natural Health, Parents, Prevention and Real Beauty, among others.

Dennis recently founded Essence Ventures to merge content, community and commerce and meet the evolving cultural and lifestyle needs of women of color and later announced the acquisition of Essence Communications Inc.

Dennis has been named by Oprah Winfrey Network to its “SuperSoul 100” list and has been named “Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company.

In 2017, Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf conferred upon him the distinction of Knight Commander and admitted Dennis into the Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of the Pioneers.


  • Gregg Gonsalves '89
  • Sobani Warner '89
  • Ronald Berry '94
  • Chris and Jade Dean '08
  • Lisa Farrow '94
  • Rand Harlow '88
  • John Kalaboukas '86
  • Mark Lee '90
  • Reginald Livingston '96
  • Angelia Lumpkin '97
  • Joseph Okpaku '94
  • Joy Profet '97
  • Alexander Long '95