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In one of its biggest organizational shifts in years, the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. has realigned its fragrance and men’s skin-care divisions.
This story first appeared in the June 16, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The reorganization follows the departure of Veronique Gabai-Pinsky, global brand president of Aramis and Designer Fragrances, BeautyBank and IdeaBank.
Gabai-Pinsky will step down on Oct. 31, becoming a senior adviser for the company, according to an internal memo obtained by WWD. No Lauder executives were available for comment Friday. Knowledgeable sources in the industry insist that Gabai-Pinsky’s exit was voluntary.
Since joining the Estée Lauder Cos. in 2003, Gabai-Pinsky has overseen a string of fragrance hits, including DKNY Be Delicious, Tory Burch and Michael Kors. As well, she redefined the ADF portfolio to focus on luxury and high-potential brands, launched Asian skin-care brand Osiao as part of IdeaBank and helped grow many brands in BeautyBank.
“In her most recent role, she fostered creativity and innovation which helped to reshape our fragrance model and improve ADF financially,” Fabrizio Freda, president and chief executive officer, and William P. Lauder, the company’s executive chairman, noted in the internal memo.
As a part of the reorganization, John Demsey, a group president of the Estée Lauder Cos., gains even more turf at the company, adding the fragrances and designer brands from ADF to his portfolio, and Daniel Annese, currently senior vice president and general manager, Global Market Development, for the Estée Lauder and Tom Ford Beauty brands, has been promoted to global brand president, Aramis and Designer Fragrances. He begins his new role Sept. 15. Annese’s successor at Estée Lauder and Tom Ford Beauty has not been named. Annese, who previously reported to global Estée Lauder Brand president Jane Hudis, will now report to Demsey.
The company also is creating a new business unit, the Men’s Skin Care Group, which will comprise the Lab Series line and its Clinique for Men offerings, which historically have been the leaders in the U.S. prestige men’s skin-care market. Lynne Greene, group president of Clinique, Origins, Ojon, Aveda and Darphin, will oversee the new unit, and Octavio Valdes, vice president of Clinique Latin America, has been named vice president and general manager of the Men’s Skin Care Group and Clinique Latin America. The Men’s Skin Care Group moves are effective July 1.
In the memo, Freda and Lauder noted that “the men’s category is a high-potential area within prestige skin care and the creation of this new division demonstrates our company’s strategic commitment to this fast-growing opportunity. Lynne’s extensive experience in skin care will be integral in the formation and future growth of the new Men’s Skin Care Group. Her proven success in building brands globally and capitalizing on fast-growing opportunities, as demonstrated by her outstanding leadership of Clinique, Origins, Ojon, Darphin and Aveda, will play an important role as our company looks to strengthen its position in men’s. The new Men’s Skin Care Group will allow us to build this business and leverage our strengths, resources and capabilities in this growing category.”
Freda and Lauder characterized the overall shake-up as “part of our continued organizational evolution, informed by our corporate strategy and 10-year compass. These changes recognize both the growing professional journey of our leaders and foster further synergies and alignment among our great brands.”
Demsey’s existing relationships with designers and his experience in the fragrance industry are expected to “further align our brands and enhance our strategic role in fragrance,” the memo said. Demsey already oversees the fragrances of the Estée Lauder brand, Tom Ford Beauty and Jo Malone. The latter two brands are leaders in the mushrooming artisanal fragrance market, which is a driver of a gathering indie revolution.
Annese, a Lauder veteran, is credited with significantly increasing Estée Lauder division sales over the past nine years, doubling profits, growing global share and achieving the number-one prestige rank in Asia. His global business development skills and strategic management of multiple beauty categories, including fragrance — most recently, the Lauder brand’s Modern Muse scent — are also seen as assets. Annese and his team had a hand in launching the ultraluxe Tom Ford Beauty division. The memo also praised Annese’s skills in portfolio optimization, local relevancy and strong team development in various regions of the globe.
Before joining Clinique, Valdes was vice president of corporate strategy, and the memo notes “his keen ability to identify and pursue significant growth opportunities make him ideally suited to lead the Men’s Skin Care Group and help further develop the business globally.”