By and  on November 2, 2007

John Demsey, group president at the Estée Lauder Cos., has tapped two longtime Lauder executives to head the Tom Ford Beauty and Prescriptives Worldwide businesses at the Estée Lauder Cos.

Joe Spellman has been named interim general manager for Tom Ford Beauty and Caroline Geerlings will be senior vice president and general manager for Prescriptives Worldwide. Both appointments are effective Nov. 26.

WWD reported Tuesday that Andrea Robinson had resigned as president of the Tom Ford Beauty and Prescriptives brands after a 20-month tenure.

"Andrea brought taste and style [to the company] at a needed point in time, and made a tremendous contribution to the Tom Ford Beauty and Prescriptives brands," Demsey said Thursday, declining further comment.

No one else at Lauder would discuss the reasons for Robinson's departure, nor would she. Her recruitment from L'Oréal after nine years was seen as a major coup for Lauder given Robinson's reputation for creativity and brand building at brands such as Helena Rubinstein and Ralph Lauren fragrances.

As for her replacements, both Geerlings and Spellman have strong backgrounds at Lauder, where brand managers oversee everything from the creative operations through to the financial side.

Geerlings is senior vice president of global marketing for MAC Cosmetics. During her tenure at the makeup artist brand, Geerlings has worked on a number of its most talked-about launches, including the brand's girly Barbie makeup line this year. In her MAC role, Geerlings also oversaw MAC New Launch Management, makeup artistry, artist research and online commerce, helping to more than quadruple the brand's net sales.

Earlier, Geerlings was senior vice president of marketing for Christian Dior Perfumes in the U.S. She began her career at Prescriptives International, working her way up to vice president of marketing in 1988 and helping to launch the brand in key international markets, Demsey said.

"Caroline is a well-seasoned marketing and business executive who has spent time working internationally and domestically for the Estée Lauder Cos.," Demsey said. "She has been part of the dynamic MAC team for the past eight years, and now she's coming home to the brand that she started her career with. I feel that she is an excellent leader for the brand — she is very well-respected both inside and outside of this company, and she brings maturity and solid thinking to the brand."Her biggest challenge, Demsey said, "is competing with herself [with her MAC projects vs. her Prescriptives products]."

There hasn't been a decision on Geerlings' successor at MAC Cosmetics, although an announcement could come as soon as next week, Demsey said. He also named Jin Chung as vice president and creative director of Prescriptives, assuming some duties previously handled by Tim Convery, who left the company. Chung will continue in her duties at the Sean John Fragrances division. "We are assembling a new team," Demsey said.

Spellman, a longtime beauty executive who has consulted on the Tom Ford Beauty Brand — as well as the Estée Lauder, Bobbi Brown, Sean John Fragrances and Origins brands, among others — will lead the Tom Ford Beauty brand until a permanent general manager is selected, Demsey said.

"Joe has been a consultant on Tom Ford Beauty from the first day," Demsey said. "He has a strong working relationship with Tom and the fragrance houses we work with, and he is the perfect creative executive to help keep the brand building its incredible momentum. Joe helped me out two years ago on MAC [by acting as general manager until Peter Lichtenthal, now president of Bumble and bumble, was able to transition into the position] and he is once again helping us out."

Spellman has demonstrated his dexterity in stepping into leadership roles. He not only led MAC for about 10 months in 2005, he also headed the Lauder creative team for a year and a half prior to the MAC gig. Spellman said his first order of business will be to check out the brand's standing with retailers.

"What I understand is that it is ranking really high at Saks [Fifth Avenue] and Neiman Marcus," he said. Then his plan is "to go into next year maximizing what is working, getting off of what isn't and creating what doesn't exist but needs to."

Demsey declined comment as to the level of progress in the search for a permanent new leader for Tom Ford Beauty.

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