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William Lauder Tapped Chief Operating Officer At Estée Lauder Group

NEW YORK — William P. Lauder has been promoted to chief operating officer of Estée Lauder Cos. as the latest step in the beauty giant’s drive to evolve its management structure. <br><br>The appointment, which will be announced today,...

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NEW YORK — William P. Lauder has been promoted to chief operating officer of Estée Lauder Cos. as the latest step in the beauty giant’s drive to evolve its management structure.

The appointment, which will be announced today, is a significant step for him and the company, triggering other key executive shifts.

Previously, Lauder had been a group president in charge of the Clinique and Origins brands, as well as the online division. Philip Shearer, former group president of the international division, will fill that post. The international group presidency will be filled by Cedric Prouve, who has been president and general manager of the Lauder affiliate in Japan since 2000. He will be succeeded in Japan by Christopher Wood, presently director and general manager of Lauder’s Korean affiliate.

In his new post, Lauder will report to, and work with, Fred H. Langhammer, president and chief executive officer. When Langhammer was named ceo in January 2000, he did not name someone to fill his previous post of chief operating officer. Leonard H. Lauder, William’s father, continues as chairman.

In June 2001, the rest of the top management was revamped with the appointment of four group presidents and several brand presidents, all with global responsibilities. It was motivated, at least in part, to speed the assimilation of ideas from around the world and spur development of individual brands on a global scale.

In an interview Wednesday, Langhammer declared the reorganization a ringing success that has yielded “great benefits.” Now he wants to build upon those gains, particularly since he sees Lauder’s future for the next couple of years in its ability to drive growth. In a recent meeting with security analysts, Lauder laid out a five-year plan that portrayed a future of growth by pursuing a global diversity of opportunities.

But Langhammer needed help. As William Lauder said in the same interview, the company consists of “a family of 17 independent brands representing 34 or 50 opinions” about what action to take in growing the businesses. In addition, the ceo job is becoming more involved. In the post-Enron world of proliferating rules on corporate governance, Langhammer finds himself dealing more with daily problems than with the long-range issues he should be tackling.

This story first appeared in the September 26, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“I was getting bogged down in so many things, running the corporation on a daily basis,” Langhammer said, noting his role should lie in focusing on growth and “bringing new ideas from around the globe” to stimulate the organization. He added that he also should be paying attention to acquisition possibilities.

Langhammer said the critical challenge facing the organization is in its ability to quickly bring new ideas to market. “Lauder’s growth will not be like in the Eighties and Nineties,” Langhammer said. “You can’t be doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results. That’s insanity.”

He described William Lauder as a perfect partner to step in. “William has traveled a lot around the globe; he knows all of our brands and he has had a 42-year career with this company,” Langhammer said, referring to Lauder’s age. “We can finish each other’s sentences.”

Having joined the company in 1986, Lauder launched and nurtured the Origins division in the early Nineties and headed Clinique, the biggest worldwide brand, from 1998 to 2001. He also was the architect of the independent store strategy and orchestrated the gloss.com joint venture with competitors, Chanel and Clarins, before becoming a group president.

Lauder sees the pairing as analogous to the situation after the company went public in 1995, when his father was ceo and Langhammer served as chief operating officer. He described it as a “tag team” that “divided and conquered.”

Lauder and Langhammer will divide up the direct reports, with the new chief operating officer overseeing some of the areas of greatest growth potential. Reporting to him will be Dan Brestle, group president of specialty brands; Ed Straw, president of global operations; Cedric Prouve, new group president of international; Andrew Cavanaugh, senior vice president of global human resources, and Ken Stone, vice president of retail store development.

Continuing to report to Langhammer will be Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, group president of the Lauder brand, MAC Cosmetics and fashion fragrances; Philip Shearer, group president of Clinique, Origins and Online; Richard Kunes, senior vice president and chief financial officer; Paul Konney, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary; Joseph Gubernick, senior vice president for corporate product development, and Pauline Brown, vice president of corporate strategy and new business development.

“I was getting bogged down in so many things, running the corporation on a daily basis,” Langhammer said, noting his role should lie in focusing on growth and “bringing new ideas from around the globe” to stimulate the organization. He added that he also should be paying attention to acquisition possibilities.

Langhammer said the critical challenge facing the organization is in its ability to quickly bring new ideas to market. “Lauder’s growth will not be like in the Eighties and Nineties,” Langhammer said. “You can’t be doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results. That’s insanity.”

He described William Lauder as a perfect partner to step in. “William has traveled a lot around the globe; he knows all of our brands and he has had a 42-year career with this company,” Langhammer said, referring to Lauder’s age. “We can finish each other’s sentences.”

Having joined the company in 1986, Lauder launched and nurtured the Origins division in the early Nineties and headed Clinique, the biggest worldwide brand, from 1998 to 2001. He also was the architect of the independent store strategy and orchestrated the gloss.com joint venture with competitors, Chanel and Clarins, before becoming a group president.

Lauder sees the pairing as analogous to the situation after the company went public in 1995, when his father was ceo and Langhammer served as chief operating officer. He described it as a “tag team” that “divided and conquered.”

Lauder and Langhammer will divide up the direct reports, with the new chief operating officer overseeing some of the areas of greatest growth potential. Reporting to him will be Dan Brestle, group president of specialty brands; Ed Straw, president of global operations; Cedric Prouve, new group president of international; Andrew Cavanaugh, senior vice president of global human resources, and Ken Stone, vice president of retail store development.

Continuing to report to Langhammer will be Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, group president of the Lauder brand, MAC Cosmetics and fashion fragrances; Philip Shearer, group president of Clinique, Origins and Online; Richard Kunes, senior vice president and chief financial officer; Paul Konney, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary; Joseph Gubernick, senior vice president for corporate product development, and Pauline Brown, vice president of corporate strategy and new business development.

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