NEW YORK — John Demsey has been promoted to executive group president at Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. and Jane Hertzmark Hudis has been elevated to group president in the wake of Lynne Greene’s decision to retire.
Demsey, who has been a group president since 2006, has expanded his responsibilities to include Clinique, the group’s largest brand, which is undergoing a major tune-up, and the Men’s Skin Care Group. He also has been handed the reins of a new Center of Excellence for Creative with the mission of nurturing creativity and advancing talent development on all the brands. With the addition of Clinique, Demsey will oversee two of the company’s three largest brands.
He will pursue dotted-line relationships with 12 creative directors while the brand presidents will maintain ultimate authority over creative and marketing plans.
“John is well-known across the industry as a strong business leader and creative visionary,” said Fabrizio Freda, president and chief executive officer of Estée Lauder Cos., who added that, as leader of the new center, Demsey will help “to drive our competitive advantage in this area through the advancement of creative capabilities, processes and talent development.”
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“It sounds like a new concept, but quite honestly, it was the original concept,” Demsey said, noting that creativity was the bedrock of the original company. He thanked Freda and executive chairman William P. Lauder for the appointment, then noted that “they wanted to ensure that creativity, along with product and operational excellence, remains at the center of everything the company does.”
Demsey will retain responsibility for Aramis and Designer Fragrances, Prescriptives, MAC Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, Jo Malone London, Bumble and bumble, Tom Ford and Smashbox, as well as the recently acquired brands — Rodin olio lusso, Le Labo, Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle and Glamglow.
That Demsey has responsibility for the new acquisitions is not surprising, considering his track record in leading MAC from a niche player to the dominant force in global makeup artistry, not to mention his work in expanding Tom Ford, Jo Malone and Smashbox.
Hudis, who has been the global brand president of the Lauder division since July 2009, has been consistently praised within the company for turning around the huge, venerable brand, particularly with her work in Asia. During her tenure, the Lauder brand’s net sales have grown by more than 40 percent, according to the company, which did not cite a dollar amount. Prior to taking the helm at Lauder, Hudis served as president of Origins, as well as Beauty Bank, a division she founded in 2003 to develop new concepts.
Freda described Hudis as “an excellent brand marketer. She is also widely recognized for her expertise in local relevance — tailoring product innovation and marketing to our consumers — and her excellent ability to grow brand appeal across multiple generations, from ageless consumers to Millennials.”
She will continue to work with the Aerin brand, while adding La Mer, Darphin, Origins and Aveda.
In an interview, Hudis said, “the vision and commitment to brand building — respecting, honing and nurturing the DNA [of each brand] reflects the strategic priorities of our company — brand-building, innovation, digital and emerging market growth — but within that, there is a portfolio that really plays in multiple categories across channels with an emphasis on skin care, and certainly there’s an opportunity with the Asian consumer.”
The executives will oversee all the brands in the corporate stable between them. Demsey will continue to report to Freda, while Hudis, who previously reported to Demsey, will now report to the ceo, effective Jan. 1.
Greene, who is set to retire as a group president on June 30, was in charge of the brands now divided between Demsey and Hudis.
William Lauder cited Demsey’s long career of success and predicted that Clinique and the Men’s Skin Care Group “will benefit from his unique business talent and world-class creativity.” Likewise, the addition of the four brands to Hudis’ portfolio “is a natural fit for Jane to leverage her brand-building expertise to further elevate and grow these brands.”
Leonard A. Lauder, chairman emeritus, noted how he had brought both executives into the company early in their careers and he stressed, “they bring innovation, creativity, style and a distinctly modern approach to our company.”