Lauder Taps Chief Operating Officer

NEW YORK — In his first major personnel decision as president and chief executive officer, William Lauder has named Dan Brestle as the new chief operating officer of The Estée Lauder Cos., a move expected to put greater emphasis on teamwork. The appointment will take effect Jan. 1.

In explaining why he chose Brestle, a 25-year Lauder veteran and group president, Lauder cited, during an interview, his brand-building and organizational leadership, then singled out his consensus and team-building skills. He marveled over Brestle’s knack “for getting people to stand in front of a train for him.”

In an earlier statement, Lauder noted, “Dan has demonstrated his expertise and leadership on many fronts, including branding, sales and operations.” Lauder added that he “is a steadfast employee advocate, an exceptional talent developer and a trusted adviser.” 

The 44-year-old ceo said Brestle, 59, also provides “a nice intergenerational bridge between my father and myself.” Lauder was referring to Leonard Lauder, 71, a previous ceo who remains chairman.

Brestle’s appointment coincides with a realignment of responsibilities for two other group presidents, Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne and Philip Shearer. Under the new configuration, each executive will be charged with tasks of running operational divisions and entrusted to handle broad responsibilities that run across the corporate structure.

Traditionally, the company has been run by two-man teams with the chief operating officer playing an operational role. Previously, Lauder was paired with the now-retired ceo Fred Langhammer, and prior to that, Langhammer had worked with the elder Lauder.

Brestle will also play a classic operational role in addition to overseeing global operations, headed by Malcolm Bond, and research and development, led by Harvey Gedeon. Also reporting to Brestle will be John Demsey, head of the flagship Estée Lauder and MAC Cosmetics divisions; Lynne Greene, president of the specialty brands — Prescriptives, Jo Malone, La Mer and Kate Spade, and Jane Hudis, the recently named president of BeautyBank.

Group president Bousquet-Chavanne has gained a strategic mandate to look for new business opportunities across Europe and Asia, both in existing channels of distribution and in alternative territory. “I am pleased that Patrick will devote his vast entrepreneurial talents, his creativity and his incredible drive to capturing these revenue opportunities while continuing to lead the Aramis and Designer Fragrances group,” Lauder stated, adding that Bousquet-Chavanne will oversee Bobbi Brown, Stila, Darphin and Rodan + Fields.

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