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Leonard Lauder to Relinquish Chairman Role at Estée Lauder

Will become chairman emeritus; decision follows appointment of Fabrizio Freda as president and puts spotlight on William Lauder’s future role.

The Estée Lauder Cos. annual meeting with shareholders ended with a crescendo Friday morning, when chairman Leonard Lauder declared that he planned to step down as chairman in two years and take on the role of chairman emeritus.

“I certainly hope William [Lauder] can succeed me as chairman,” said Leonard Lauder, referring to his son and the firm’s current president and chief executive officer.

Leonard Lauder has held the chairman post for 12 years, about the same period of time that Estée Lauder, his mother and the company’s founder, had occupied the role.

The announcement comes on the heels of the news that the family-run beauty firm has reached outside its world of prestige beauty to recruit Fabrizio Freda, until recently president of the Global Snacks division of Procter & Gamble Co., as the beauty group’s next president and chief operating officer, with plans to promote him to ceo within 24 months. Click here for the story of Freda’s appointment.


For more, see Monday’s issue of WWD.