Skip to main content

Lauder Alum Joe Gubernick Dies at 88

Gubernick headed up research and development for the beauty giant before retiring.

Joseph “Joe” Gubernick, a longtime executive at the Estée Lauder Cos., died Saturday at age 88.

The cause could not immediately be learned but in a statement Lauder said Gubernick passed away peacefully at his home in Pine Plains, New York, with his family by his side.

Gubernick held many posts during his career at Lauder, most notably in the research and development capacity. He had a hand in creating several of the company’s most well-known and regarded skin care products, including Night Repair and Fruition from the Lauder brand and Clinique’s Turnaround Cream. He was also instrumental in the development of Origins.

Related Galleries

“Joe Gubernick was an inventor, an innovator, and, fortunately for the Estée Lauder Companies, a wonderful colleague and friend,” said Leonard A. Lauder, chairman emeritus of the beauty giant. “As a major player in our company’s R&D [research and development] department, we will be forever grateful to Joe for his vision and creativity across so many products, and especially for his work on Night Repair and his contributions to the Origins line. In a word, Joe was a genius. Yet he was so much more. He was also a great, good and kind man. He was one of a kind and a cherished friend to many.”

Gubernick joined the company from Revlon in 1972 as senior vice president of R&D. He held that position until 1985, when he focused on creating the Origins brand, which launched in 1990. In 1991, he rejoined R&D until 2000, when he assumed responsibility for the corporate product innovation group. In 2008, he was named chief marketing officer of the Estée Lauder brand.

 After leaving Lauder, Gubernick established In Ventures. Most recently he was lead adviser to I-On Skincare, founded by Dr. Xi Huang, which is said to have a proprietary technology that removes and neutralizes various forms of iron in the skin.

“We lost a scientific genius who had such passion for life, passion for scientific creative
endeavors and desire to improve skin product benefits for all people around the world,” said Arnold Zimmerman, president of Catchers Mitt and director of Ion Skincare. “His loss is quite painful as I will miss his humor, charm, strength and philanthropy to benefiting children around the world.”

According to a Linked-In post from Harvey Gedeon, who worked with Gubernick and retired from Lauder in 2011, a memorial service is being planned for the spring. Donations may be made to Hudson Valley Hospice.