NEW YORK — Andrea Robinson, who turned Ralph Lauren Fragrances into a powerhouse at L’Oréal USA, has been named president of Tom Ford Beauty and of Prescriptives Worldwide at the Estée Lauder Cos.
Robinson’s first order of business will be to help Ford ready his freestanding Tom Ford line, which is slated for a fall 2006 launch. The designer, who signed a licensing deal with the Estée Lauder Cos. last April, has released two limited-edition collections for the flagship Estée Lauder brand — Amber Nude, sold in fall 2005, and Azurée, which will hit counters this spring.
“Andrea has worked very well with Tom, and they have a natural creative affinity with each other, so [putting her in charge of his brand] was a logical decision,” William Lauder, president and chief executive officer of the Estée Lauder Cos., said in an interview. “The Tom Ford brand also needed a brand operational group. Rather than creating one from scratch, we decided that Prescriptives was the logical brand to hook up with.”
Robinson, named chief marketing officer of the Estée Lauder brand last March, will take on her new responsibilities March 1. She will continue to report to John Demsey, global president of the Estée Lauder and MAC Cosmetics brands, who also now oversees the Prescriptives Worldwide, Tom Ford Beauty and Sean John Fragrances.
Robinson’s role with Ford’s beauty line is a new one. The Prescriptives presidency was most recently held by Lynne Greene, former president of Lauder’s specialty brands group, who was tapped as the president of Clinique in December. The other specialty store brands overseen by Greene — including Jo Malone and La Mer —are now handled by Maureen Case, also president of Bobbi Brown Worldwide.
Robinson had been president of Ralph Lauren Fragrances Worldwide and was head of the brand for seven years. She began her career in the magazine industry, where she was senior fashion editor at Mademoiselle, beauty editor and creative director for Seventeen and beauty editor at Vogue. Later, she turned to manufacturing, first as president of Revlon’s Ultima II division — she developed the top-selling Nakeds color cosmetics line with the late Kevyn Aucoin, as well as the best-selling Lip Sexxy long-wearing lipstick line — then as president of Revlon’s department store marketing division. She joined Cosmair — now L’Oréal USA — in 1996 as general manager of Helena Rubinstein. In 1997, she became general manager of L’Oréal’s Ralph Lauren fragrances division and was named president of Ralph Lauren Fragrances Worldwide in 2001, overseeing the launches of Romance and Romance for Men, both top sellers and back-to-back FiFi winners, as well as Polo Blue and Ralph.
This story first appeared in the February 7, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“With Andrea’s extensive background in both the manufacturing and editorial worlds, both presidencies are a natural fit for her,” Demsey said. “She has developed a very strong relationship with Tom, and together they executed very strong Tom Ford Estée Lauder collections. Putting her on the standalone brand launch is a natural move. At the same time, as a former beauty editor at Vogue and Seventeen, Andrea has extensive experience with the editorial side of the business, and Prescriptives has always had such a rich history of having an editorially strong point of view.”
At Lauder, Robinson worked with Ford as the brand developed Amber Nude and Azurée. “Andrea has tremendous industry experience, an innate sense of style and a true understanding of luxury,” Ford said in a statement. “With Andrea’s combined fashion, beauty and business background she is superbly suited to the job. We have worked closely together on the Tom Ford Estée Lauder brand, and I look forward to collaborating with her on the creation of the Tom Ford Beauty brand.”
Effective March 1, Joseph Gubernick, senior vice president for corporate product development for the Lauder Cos., will replace Robinson as chief marketing officer for the Lauder brand. He will lead global marketing for the Estée Lauder brand skin care, makeup and fragrance worldwide and report to Demsey. Gubernick joined the Lauder Cos. from Revlon in 1972 as senior vice president of the research and development group. He helped to create Estée Lauder’s Night Repair in 1982, one of the first facial products to include hyaluronic acid. He stayed in product development until 1985, when he was moved to help create Lauder’s Origins brand, which launched in 1990. Gubernick then rejoined the research and development group until 2000, when he took responsibility for the corporate product innovation group, helping to create Clinique’s Turnaround Cream and Estée Lauder’s Fruition.
“Joe’s background at the Estée Lauder Cos. is nothing short of iconic,” Demsey said. “He has been the architect of much, if not most, of what you see in the skin care architecture at the Estée Lauder Cos. He has been an integral part of developing many products and was one of the key minds who conceptualized Origins with William. A lot of the things that he has developed have not only changed our company, but the face of the cosmetics industry.”
Harvey Gedeon, executive vice president of research and development for the Estée Lauder Cos., will assume responsibility for the Corporate Product Innovation Group as of March 1, and will retain his present role. Gedeon will continue to report to Dan Brestle, chief operating officer for the Estée Lauder Cos.