NEW YORK — A group that includes former Estee Lauder Cos. executives has a new mission: acquiring and developing classic, yet underdeveloped, luxury beauty brands. The new entity, Cradle Holdings, includes Robert Nielsen, who retired from the Estee Lauder Cos. last June from his post as group president of Aramis, Donna Karan, Jo Malone, Kate Spade Beauty, La Mer, Prescriptives and Tommy Hilfiger; Jane Terker, formerly president of consulting firm JTP Associates and formerly head of the Donna Karan Beauty Co.; Lauren Freedman, formerly vice president of sales and education for Prescriptives North America, and Phil Theiss, formerly chief financial officer of Natural Organics. Nielsen is the new entity’s chief executive officer, Terker its president and chief operating officer, Freedman its vice president of sales and Theiss its chief financial officer.

Cradle Holdings was officially formed in November. The group’s first project is skin care brand Erno Laszlo, which it purchased Dec. 31 from Long Island City, N.Y.-based Mana Cosmetics. While none of the executives would comment on the purchase price, industry sources estimated that Cradle paid between $10 million and $15 million for the brand. “The whole idea behind Cradle Holdings is to revitalize classic brands that need strategic guidance,” said Terker, adding that the company will likely acquire four to six additional brands over the next two to three years. “We plan to restore Laszlo to the preeminence it once had, and we see a lot of potential for the brand.” Erno Laszlo was founded in the Forties by the dermatologist of the same name.

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