NEW YORK — One of the beauty industry’s most venerable companies will get a new chief executive this summer — and one who’s already in the family.
William Lauder, 43, currently chief operating officer of the Estée Lauder Cos. and grandson of company founder Estée Lauder, will become the corporation’s new ceo on July 1, succeeding Fred Langhammer, 59. At that time, Langhammer will assume the newly created post of chairman of global affairs.
Lauder, one of two sons of the firm’s chairman Leonard Lauder and senior corporate vice president Evelyn Lauder, is an 18-year veteran of the corporation that bears his family’s name.
“I’m very excited about this opportunity, and I know it’s going to be a tremendous challenge,” Lauder told WWD on Tuesday, noting that his “single most important mandate in the next year to 18 months will be continuing to maintain the momentum” that the brands currently have in the market. According to Lauder, there are no current plans to add additional members to the senior management team.
Lauder also noted that he intends to “leverage the most important assets of the company — great brands and great people.” His focus areas will include strengthening existing brands, as well as exploring opportunities for additional acquisitions and developing future brands.
While Lauder officially joined the corporation in 1986, he joked, “I joined the Estée Lauder Cos. 43 years ago, but I’ve only been paid for it for the better part of the past 17 or 18 years.” After graduating from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and prior to joining his family’s business in 1986, Lauder was associate merchandising manager at Macy’s East, working in Dallas. His first role at the Lauder Cos. was as regional marketing director for Clinique, followed by stints as field sales manager for Prescriptives and at Origins. From 1990 to 1998, Lauder served first as vice president and general manager and later, as president of Origins, a brand which he helped introduce to the market.
In 1998, Lauder was named president of Clinique, where he was credited with increasing the brand’s share in the hair care category and increasing sales on its Web site. In fiscal 2002, Clinique.com was one of the brand’s top five doors in North America in sales.
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