NEW YORK — Elizabeth Jerrett, a former marketing executive at Elizabeth Arden who became president and chief executive officer of cosmetics marketer Posner Laboratories in the mid-Eighties, died Oct. 25 after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 63.
Jerrett began her career in the beauty industry in 1972 as director of marketing for Arden. Several years later, however, she joined Converse as vice president of marketing in Boston, which also was the location of her alma mater. Jerrett had been one of the first female graduates of the Harvard Business School, not long after the school opened its M.B.A. program to women in the early Sixties, according to a longtime friend.
Jerrett rejoined the beauty industry as vice president of marketing at skin care manufacturer Germaine Monteil and then became president of Posner in 1985, leading the company until 1994. The next year, she formed Jerrett Group, a consulting firm that she ran until 2004.
It was her own struggle with cancer that spurred the formation of Cosmetic Executive Women's Cancer and Careers program, according to CEW president Carlotta Jacobson. Cancer and Careers offers advice, information and support to women who continue to work once they have been diagnosed with the disease.
"It was because of Elizabeth that we created Cancer and Careers," Jacobson said Wednesday, noting that Jerrett, a consultant at the time, served on the executive committee of the organization's board of governors. "At the time she was diagnosed, she felt she couldn't tell anybody [for fear] she would lose business," said Jacobson. But "she made it clear that there was a need for information for women and that they could work. There was nothing like that at the time.
"Anytime anyone got cancer, she was the person people went to for information," said Jacobson. "She made herself available. She helped a lot of people."
Jerrett is survived by a son, Trevor Huston. A memorial service is being planned for a later date.
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